British Columbia’s distracted driving tickets are tough for a reason

The B.C. Supreme Court has upheld the strict enforcement of the province’s distracted driving laws.

It can be hard to fight against a distracted driving ticket, as one British Columbia man learned recently. As Global News reports, that man tried to challenge his distracted driving citation on the basis that he was not talking or texting on his phone but rather plugging it in while stopped at a red light. The B.C. Supreme Court ruled against him in a case that should serve as a reminder that when it comes to distracted driving the law does not leave much of a gray area. While the ruling may appear tough, the strict enforcement is in place for a reason thanks to the high number of motor vehicle accidents caused each year in the province by distracted driving.

Hands off the phone

Many British Columbians seem confused about how far the province's distracted driving laws go. As the case of the above mentioned individual who tried to challenge his ticket shows, many drivers appear to think it is texting, talking, or surfing the internet on the phone while driving that is illegal. In that case, however, Supreme Court Justice Miriam Maisonville pointed out that "it's the handling of the advice, and the use, not whether the device was capable of transmitting or receiving, that is the issue before the court."

In other words, handling a smartphone is dangerous, even if one is just plugging it in and not actually using it to talk or text. After all, focusing one's attention on trying to plug in a phone is still a distracting activity and it keeps one from focusing on the road.

Law applies at a red light too

Another issue that seems to confuse many drivers is the fact that handling a mobile device is still illegal even when stopped at a red light. However, even when stopped at a red light, a motorist is still driving and needs to be aware of his or her surroundings. Hazards can arise suddenly even at a red light that may require the driver to quickly maneuver the vehicle out of harm's way. Furthermore, as anybody who has been stuck behind a motorist who is too busy on their phone to notice the light has turned green can attest to, using a mobile device at a red light is also inconsiderate to other drivers.

While B.C.'s strict enforcement of its distracted driving laws may seem harsh, it's important to remember just how deadly distracted driving has become. As CBC News reports, one U.S. study estimated that 90 percent of accidents are now caused by either impairment, distraction or fatigue.

Personal injury law

If drivers want to avoid getting a distracted driving ticket, there is one simple thing they can do: put their mobile devices away while they are behind the wheel. No text or phone call is worth the pain and damage a distracted d riving accident can cause. For those who have been hurt in an accident that may have been caused by a distracted driver it is important to reach out to a personal injury law firm for help. An experienced lawyer can help accident victims pursue whatever claims they may be entitled to, claims which could ultimately help them with major expenses like vehicle repair, therapy, lost income, and medical care.