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Thousands ticketed for distracted driving

COQUITLAM (NEWS1130) – More than 5500 people in BC were caught using their cell phones not hands free while driving during the distracted driving blitz last month. Mounties say the results are “disappointing.”

In Coquitlam alone, BC RCMP handed out more than 550 tickets. Cpl. Jamie Chung says that’s almost double the number of tickets over the same period last year.

“The year before we issued 314 and this year is 552. We caught nearly twice as many drivers who are not getting the message. The message is very simple, if you’re driving don’t use your hand held electronic device,” says Chung.

“People are usually talking when they’re driving and people are texting at stop lights. It is a dead give away when people are looking down constantly, and then the light turns green, and they are still texting away, and they’re not moving,” he explains.

The fine is $167. Money aside, he doesn’t understand why someone would risk the lives of others. He points to research showing that those on their mobiles are three to four times more likely to crash, and the rate is about 20 times higher for people texting.

“Distracted driving is one of the leading causes for serious crashes for the region,” he warns.

Due to the alarmingly high results, he says you should expect Mounties cracking down on people talking on their cell phones without Bluetooth in the coming months.