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Heads, eyes forward to prevent a car accident in British Columbia

It's all too often the case, or rather, the cause. Cell phone use while driving can cause a car accident in the blink of an eye. According to recent statistics, more accidents occur due to distracted driving than impaired driving. Reportedly, 78 lives are lost each year in British Columbia because of drivers' attention distracted from the road by talking or texting on a cell phone.

Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are most likely to be victims of a distracted driver than of any other -- a fact cited by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) only a year and a half ago. At the time, fines were doubled and driving demerit points increased from three to four. Cold comfort when one considers the vulnerability to serious injury or death by pedestrians and other roadway users.

That said, this high-risk driving behaviour is now viewed by authorities as much an offence as excessive speeding. Currently, an enforcement blitz is underway across the province accompanied by even more stringent fines. Enforcement, education and engineering are the three pillars of this targeted road safety initiative. Indeed, even remote phone shut-down technology is considered as a possible option. Some may consider that and the covert detection strategies, including plainclothes officers on the ground or in unmarked vehicles, to be excessive.

However, families who have experienced the loss of a loved one may have good reason to think altogether differently. High-risk behaviour behind the wheel of a car may or may not be reduced by the province's efforts. Whether called criminal, a sin or an urban social menace, a car accident due to distracted driving can alter an entire family's future when the life of a beloved is irretrievably lost. In these and other cases involving injury, victims or their families may choose to secure legal counsel to determine fault in British Columbia's civil courts and help assess related damages.

Source: British Columbia - CBC News, "Province-wide distracted driving enforcement blitz underway", Rafferty Baker, March 2, 2018

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