Police enforce distracted driving laws

This month, RCMP are targeting drivers using cell phones, part of a traffic enforcement campaign opposing distracted driving.

This month, RCMP are targeting drivers using cell phones or handheld devices, said RCMP Sgt. Rose.

Police, along with Smithers and Terrace Traffic Services, are part of a February traffic enforcement campaign along Highway 16 opposing distracted driving, said Sgt. Rose.

Preliminary statistics for 2012 suggest that distracted driving was the cause of 30 per cent of all motor vehicle fatalities and 30 per cent of all motor vehicle collisions involving serious injuries, said Sgt. Rose.

He says studies show driving requires full attention and people are four times more likely to crash when talking on a cell phone while driving, and 23 times more likely to get in a crash when texting and driving.

Sgt. Rose encourages motoring public to not use mobile phones while driving, and warns of a potential $167 fine if caught doing so.

He adds that there is exception for “hands-free devices,” which are devices mounted to a vehicle or secured on a person and operated by one touch.

He reminds that if a person’s phone rings or they get a message while driving, they should simply pull over before answering the call.

Since Jan. 2010 when provincial legislation was put in place to ban cell phone use while driving, police in B.C. have issued over 63,000 violation tickets, said Sgt. Rose.

***

RCMP arrested a male at a loud party who allegedly assaulted someone and damaged the windows of two vehicles on Hagman Crescent just after 1 a.m. Jan. 27, said Sgt. Rose.

He was arrested, charged with assault and mischief and will appear in court March 18, Sgt. Rose said.

***

RCMP responded to a disturbance just after 1 a.m. Jan. 29, and arrested a male for assault, releasing him with promise to appear in court March 18, Sgt. Rose said.

***

RCMP got report Jan. 29 of an attempted fraud, where someone got a call from an out-of-country number, likely Florda, who claimed to be from Publishers Clearing House and said the person could claim a prize by sending a $250 cheque to the caller, said Sgt. Rose.

The person reported the call to scam busters, Publishers Clearing House and RCMP, and Sgt. Rose reminds the public that calls for funds to be wired in advance of receiving a prize are extremely rare and should be considered a fraud and reported to RCMP.

***

A pickup hit a logging truck just after 10 a.m. Jan. 30, at the 25 kilometre mark on Equity Mine Road, and pickup truck driver was brought to the Smithers hospital for minor, non-life threatening injuries and the logging truck driver was uninjured, said Sgt. Rose.

Sgt. Rose says the pickup driver hit the logging truck which was parked while the driver was putting on chains.

The pickup driver reported he was blinded by the sun and did not see the parked logging truck, said Sgt. Rose.

***

A minivan hit a deer Jan. 25 on Highway 16 near Sullivan Motor Products, Sgt. Rose said.

Sgt. Rose says the deer died at the scene but the driver and passengers was uninjured and the vehicle damage was insignificant.

***

Houston RCMP got a call from Smithers RCMP Jan. 26 warning them of a possible drunk driver headed into town, said Sgt. Rose.

Sgt. Rose says the driver was stopped on Highway 16 near 7-11, and after failing the roadside screen twice, got a 90-day driving prohibition and had their vehicle impounded for 30 days.

***

Sgt. Rose says RCMP towed a pickup truck, found high-centred on Mountain View Drive Jan. 27, because it was blocking snow plows and had expired insurance.