More British Columbians are being killed by distracted driving than impaired driving, according to B.C. Attorney General Suzanne Anton. Eighty-one people were killed in 2012 in distracted driving accidents, compared to 55 deaths caused by drinking and driving accidents. This is not necessarily a reduction in drunk driving itself, but rather a fatal increase in the activities and devices that distract drivers.
The Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) of B.C. was amended in 2010, prohibiting the use of hand-held electronic devices while driving. Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) drivers are not permitted to use any electronic devices, even hands-free because they are considered to be a distracting device. Your typical driver thinks texting and driving is a dangerous combination, and yet police in B.C. issued 51,000 tickets for distracted driving last year alone.
Sadly, the latest Apple toy isn’t the only thing distracting drivers. Eating, reading, and grooming are just a few other everyday activities that are causes of distracted driving accidents. It was a driver reaching over to grab a drink that claimed the life of Casey Feldman. Feldman, a 21 year-old student at Fordham University in New York, was a pedestrian in a 4-way stop crosswalk when she was struck in broad daylight. Her parents, Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson, started End Distracted Driving to help stop similar tragedies from occurring.
While based in the United States, EndDD (End Distracted Driving) recently has taken its mission of advocacy and education to Vancouver. Students at Notre Dame High School attended the organization’s first presentation held in a B.C. school on May 29, 2014. Also that week, Joel Feldman met with the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C., which will be starting a public awareness programme this fall with TLABC members delivering EnDD’s message at local high schools.
Let’s hope that these efforts reduce the number of senseless deaths in our province.