Texting and Driving
I listened to an interesting interview on CBC Radio this morning. A young woman from Edmonton was being interviewed about texting on her cell phone at the same time that she was driving her car. To add to the distraction, she would also smoke and eat while she was texting.
This was not a big deal. Yes, she had narrowly missed pedestrians in a crosswalk once and would frequently fail to notice that the traffic light had turned green as she focused on the text message. I just need more practice to get better at it was the observation that she made to the interviewer.
Thank goodness I don't live in Edmonton because I don't want to meet her! No problem said ex-Solicitor General John Les, BC had plenty of laws to deal with drivers who use a cell phone while driving. This is true, but really only after that driver has done something wrong like failing to see a red light or straying onto the wrong side of the road. Then police can write a ticket for the bad driving behaviour.
What about driving without reasonable consideration for others using the highway or driving without due care and attention, both offences under the Motor Vehicle Act? In my experience it is difficult to obtain a conviction for these offences after a crash. It is highly unlikely that the court will convict just because the driver is holding a conversation with one hand and the lives of those around them on the highway in the other.
Do we need a preventative law? A law that realizes that using a cell phone to talk or text while driving is a dangerous thing and stings the driver before something bad happens because they are distracted? Some Canadian provinces agreed with this viewpoint. Newfoundland led the way followed by Quebec and Nova Scotia in prohibiting the use of a hand held cell phone while driving. Unless drivers choose to hang up and drive on their own I think that it is time for the BC Legislature to have another look at the subject.