EDITORIAL: Put it down or pay the price

New distracted driving penalties now in effect for West Shore motorists

Drivers continuing to text or otherwise drive distracted now face fines that have more than doubled. Tougher penalties and higher fines are also coming to those repeat offenders among us, who will be subjected to an automatic licence review that can result in a driving prohibition of three to 12 months.

When these new penalties were announced Transportation Minister Todd Stone said some people are still not getting the message. Well we hope people start getting the message, now that the consequences are hitting them a little harder in the pocketbook.

Police in the Capital Region even have new tools to spot you texting at a red light. This high-powered device can scope out drivers from up to 450 metres away, while taking clear pictures of you sending that selfie while stuck in rush hour.

Criticisms of the new punishments were flowing freely over social media on Wednesday, with many saying they are excessive.

Well those flashing blue and red lights appearing in your rear-view are the best case scenario for distracted driving.

We regularly see the other consequences. Heaps of metal that no longer resemble the car they once were are a too common sight on the West Shore. But at the end of the day, that metal is just a vehicle and what it is meant to carry is most precious cargo. Walking away from a wreck like that is often called miraculous by our first responders and it doesn’t happen all that often.

But don’t take our word for it. Let the facts speak for themselves. According to the Canadian Automobile Association, a person is 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash, or near-crash event, if they text while driving compared to a non-distracted driver.

It takes three to four seconds to open and read a text, according to our local traffic cops, when you’re traveling at 80 km/h you cover almost 100 metres in that time. That is roughly the length of a football field you just travelled blind.

Our region’s police also noted that distracted driving kills and harms more people in B.C. every year than impaired driving.

Eventually everyone’s luck runs out, don’t waste the little you do have on driving distracted. Next time you’re behind the wheel, leave the phone alone. That call or text message isn’t worth dying for.

Just Posted

Canadians smoke less according to community health survey

Obesity and heavy drinking rates remain steady

Armoury event highlights Canada’s D-Day efforts in Normandy

Event runs Saturday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Bay Street Armoury

Bed Races on Beacon teams make final preparations

CCM Construction ready to defend their title on July 7

Brentwood Bay fruit stand plundered on first day of season

Leeanne and Jack Guthrie dismayed to find money and fruit stolen from roadside stand

Victoria woman accesses healing Burn Fund resources 45 years after injury

Stasi Manser was burned when she was five years old and now works as an adult burn survivor advocate

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the penalty should be increased for tossing a burning cigarette from a vehicle?

With grasslands and forests around Vancouver Island and across B.C. reaching tinder… Continue reading

PHOTOS: North Island home gutted in fire deemed ‘suspicious’

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Vancouver Island woman assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Most Read