It’s just one text at a red light, right? I’m fully stopped so no harm, right? If you think this way, you’re wrong! A survey conducted by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) found that one third of all Canadians have texted while stopped at a red light.
Distracted driving is dangerous and even if you’re stopped at an intersection, you’re still in control of a running car and putting yourself and others at risk. Mike Morris, BC’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, recently pointed out some of the particular hazards of texting at a red light.
“Intersections are busy places that require your full attention when you’re at the wheel,” he said in New Year’s message to drivers in the province. “Awareness at all times means you’re better prepared to react and take evasive action – for example, if an emergency vehicle or a distracted driver is coming up behind you! You’d be surprised how often distracted driving leads to rear-end crashes and related injuries.”
Along with the physical risk of texting while in a busy intersection, using your device is a costly distraction when driving. Across the country, all of the provinces and two of the territories have strict bans, penalties, and fines for using a hand-held cell phone while driving (only Nunavut has no such legislation yet). The fines in BC are some of the stiffest.
So put those phones away! And if you absolutely must check your phone or send a text, the right thing to do is to pull completely out of traffic and stop and park in a safe place away from moving traffic or pedestrians. Only then will you get the green light to pull out your phone.