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B.C. police stepping up distracted driving, seatbelt enforcement

Fasten your seatbelt: Distracted driving month is underway in B.C. and police across the province are reminding drivers to focus on the road to help prevent any serious or fatal collisions.

But it’s not just the phone that poses a risk when behind the wheel – it’s other distractions like personal grooming, eating or drinking, reading, or having insecure pets in the car, just to name a few.

“It all starts with you,” says BC Highway Patrol Sgt. Holly Turton. “Ask yourself if it is worth your life or someone else’s to answer a call, check your email, or send that text while you are driving.”

According to the patrol, its ‘Distracted Driving and Occupant Restraint’ campaign rolls out every March and September. And it’s no different this year, as staff point to data that finds distracted driving is responsible for more than 25 per cent of all car crash fatalities.

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With this in mind, Sgt. Turton’s now asking drivers to make the “right choice” when behind the wheel. “Your life may depend on it,” she explains, “and others may depend on you to get to your destination safely.”

RELATED: Officials asking drivers to help keep kids safe as school returns

It’s noted that police across B.C., including on Vancouver Island, are working together with road safety partners, ICBC, and RoadSafetyBC to “step up” distracted driving enforcement this month and beyond.

“The fines for distracted driving start at $368 and four penalty points, plus a ‘Driver Risk Premium’ assessed by ICBC,” reads an RCMP release. “In addition, vehicle insurance costs may be affected and too many points assessed against one’s license may result in a prohibition from driving.”

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As well, police recommended that drivers and their passengers always buckle up even when going just a short distance. Kids should also be secured in an approved infant or child seat. “Seatbelts and airbags work together to protect you and the occupants of your car. The fine for not wearing a seatbelt is $167,” the RCMP adds.

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