Publish on : January 9, 2018 by Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
Eating and drinking, smoking, adjusting the radio or interacting with passengers can all divert a driver’s attention from the road. Nearly everyone has a story about a driver he or she saw blithely applying makeup or even reading the newspaper while piloting a 1,200-kilogram vehicle down the highway at 100 kph.
There’s no mystery regarding the definition of “distracted driving” – it is simply anything that causes an automobile operator to take his or her full attention away from the operation of the vehicle, even for just a moment.
Distractions generally fall into one of three categories:
An activity is especially risky if it involves two or even all three forms of distraction. For example, composing and sending or reading a text message or email on one’s smartphone simultaneously creates visual, manual and cognitive distractions.
To those Canadians old enough to remember when there was no need to ask most callers “Where are you?”, the proliferation of mobile phones is nothing less than revolutionary. According to statistics firm Statista, in 2017 nearly 30 million Canadians owned mobile phones, more than half of which were smart devices capable of sending and receiving text and email messages.
Unfortunately, there is growing evidence of a strong correlation between the explosion in mobile (and especially smart) phone use and an increase in distracted driving deaths and injuries. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has reported that more than 25% of automobile crash fatalities in B.C. Between 2011 and 2015 involved driver distraction.
By 2008, provincial and territorial authorities were convinced that strict limits on mobile phone use in autos were needed. As a result, all ten Canadian provinces and two of the three territories have adopted legislation.
British Columbia’s statute prohibits driving or operating a vehicle (which includes any time the driver is in control and on a highway, not just when the car is in motion) while using any handheld mobile phone, whether or not it is capable of transmitting or receiving text-based communications. It also defines “use” to include having a device in a position where it can be used, thereby making irrelevant any claim (truthful or not) that the device was switched off.
While mobile phones are the most common source of distraction, there are many others. The ICBC and the Canada Safety Council have some additional tips to help you keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes and mind on the road:
Even if you are completely attentive whenever you drive, other drivers can be less cautious. If you’re injured by a distracted driver, the team of lawyers at Diamond and Diamond is ready to help. Call our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We offer free consultations and case evaluations. Our team of personal injury lawyers represents clients throughout British Columbia.