A Saanich Police officer issues a $368 ticket for distracted driving during a morning campaign at Quadra and McKenzie on March 6. Arnold Lim/Black Press

Traffic blitz nails 86 distracted drivers in Greater Victoria

In one morning, Saanich Police catch 21 drivers on handheld electronics at Quadra and McKenzie

Saanich Police wrote up 21 distracted driving tickets to drivers using handheld electronic devices while staked out at the McKenzie and Quadra intersection on Tuesday morning.

The effort was part of a district-wide campaign led by ICBC that saw 86 tickets issued for use of electronic devices while driving plus another 63 violations, from eight different locations, between 7 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

At $368 for the distracted driving violation, plus another $175 to clear the four-point penalty on the ICBC driver premium that goes with it, the costs add up fast. Drivers caught using electronic devices twice in a three-year period could pay as much as $2,000 in penalties. Despite the costs, distracted driving remains the second leading cause of vehicle crashes in the province, said ICBC road and safety coordinator Colleen Woodger.

“We still have some work ahead of us,” she said. “Distracted driving is the second leading cause of crashes. Drivers need to drop the phone and focus on driving.”

ICBC and Saanich Police chose McKenzie and Quadra for its high traffic rate and also its high crash rate.

“It’s quite surprising the number of people we pull over, quite a few in an intersection like this,” said Saanich Police acting Sgt. Jereme Leslie. “Texting, using the map or emailing are not allowed on a handheld device. What is permitted is setting up the map on a mounted phone before you drive.”

Tuesday’s pullovers were mostly routine ‘phone checkers,’ though one person was on their tablet.

The most egregious offender Leslie has seen was as a member of IRSU, once pulled over someone shaving, eating cereal and talking on the phone while speeding on the Malahat.

Police agencies across B.C. have lots of enforcement planned this month.

“Distracted driving is the use of handheld devices, and it’s also eating or anything taking attention off the road,” Woodger said.

Intersections are an ideal place to run a distracted driving campaigns because a lot of people think it’s okay to pull out their phone at a stop sign or red light, Woodger said.

“It is not. The most common type of distracted driving crash is a rear-ender and 60 per cent of crashes are at intersections,” she said.

ICBC’s provincial distracted driving campaign will continue throughout March.

reporter@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Two to hospital after University of Victoria sailing mishap

Wind gusts capsize boat of recreational club sailors

Victoria’s deaf community advocates for different sign languages to be recognized on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Transport Canada announces funds for pollutant clean up in Victoria Park, removal of abandoned boats

Contaminants at Laurel Point Park will be removed starting at the end of September

Moon Lantern festival to light up Gordon Head

Saturday night festival celebrates harvest moon, fall season

Volunteers gather in Metchosin for B.C.’s 1st ever search and rescue joint training

Around 200 volunteers came out for the three-day training program

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

5 things to do this weekend in and around Greater Victoria

Sooke Apple Fest returns, Saanich lights up with lantern festival and anarchists unite for downtown book fair

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

‘I’m no quitter’ on climate change issues, McKenna says at G7 ministers meeting

David Suzuki says if McKenna believes what she’s saying, she too should quit

Most Read