NANAIMO — B.C.’s much publicized crackdown on distracted driving didn’t lead to significantly more tickets in the mid-island area.
“The behaviours we’re seeing don’t really seem to be abating. (People are) still out there distractedly driving,” said Central Island Traffic Services RCMP Cpl. Mike Elston.
Thirty-one tickets were issued in September for the mid-island area. On average, Elston said they give out 21 tickets per month in the summer. The month-long campaign was specifically targeted to the use of electronic devices such as cell phones.
“The truth is, there’s not enough police officers on the road to make people feel that they’re going to get caught. It’s just not going to happen. You don’t see a police car on every block, second block or even kilometre. So there’s a feeling by a lot of people that if they just do something quick, then it’s not that big of a deal.”
Though the initiative didn’t net a sizable amount of distracted driving tickets, Elston said it still played a part in the larger picture of safe driving education.
“Any type of campaign or advertisement by the government is doing something. Some people do change…they’ve said it over the years they would never go back to holding the phone up to their ears, that they remember it was distracting.”
Though drivers have become more adept at hiding the fact they’re using a cellphone, such as leaving it in their lap on speakerphone, Elston said police are savvier than many give them credit for and know when it’s happening.
“Those drivers who constantly do the nod up and down, from a policing perspective we know it’s going on…and sometimes we’re able to catch it.”
Story written by Spencer Sterritt
-with files from Dominic Abassi
On Twitter: @spencer_sterrit