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Distracted driving and car accidents in British Columbia

With the widespread use of cell phones, distracted driving has become an increasingly problematic issue. Because of the risks associated with cell phone use while driving, the practice was made illegal in 2010. Still, the problem continues.

Last year, more people died in accidents due to a distracted driver in the province than those killed in drunk driving accidents. Of the 269 people who lost their lives on the provincial roads, 77 people who died did so because of distracted drivers while alcohol or drug use accounted for 63 deaths. Only speed factored higher than distracted driving with 78 lives lost.

Despite the risks, people still talk on their cell phones or read and respond to text messages. Since it became illegal in 2010, 209,000 people have received tickets for using cell phones while driving. In the past year, an average of 4,800 people were ticketed every month for talking or texting while driving. In a recent study, in excess of 33 percent of Canadians admitted to using their cell phones while driving. In a recent crackdown in North Vancouver, people continued using cell phones and received tickets even after being warned by volunteers holding large signs telling people to not use their phones.

Those who look at their cell phones to answer them or read a text message take their eyes off the road. In those few seconds, the vehicles they are driving may crash into another car, potentially causing serious or even fatal accidents as demonstrated by the statistics. When an accident victim has injuries suffered at the hands of a distracted driver, the victim may be able to hold the person civilly liable by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Drivers should refrain from using their cell phones while they are driving at all times.

Source: CBC news, "More than 200,000 tickets issued for distracted driving in B.C.", Greg Rasmussen, December 23, 2014

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