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B.C. pilot program offers workshop instead of $543 fine for distracted driving
A pilot program in British Columbia aimed at curbing distracted driving is focusing on education, rather than punishment.
In December, the Victoria Police Department conducted a two-day pilot project that saw officers give drivers who were pulled over for distracted driving a choice: face a $543 fine and demerit points, or participate in a three-hour educational workshop.
Thirty-two of the 42 people who were issued tickets opted to take the course.
"Through this program people are accepting responsibility and they’re going to go and educate their family and their friends," Const. Matt Rutherford, spokesperson for the Victoria Police Department, told CTV Vancouver Island.
The workshop used educational videos and simulated driving situations to focus on the risks associated with distracted driving. The course included everything from cellphone use behind the wheel, to eating and applying makeup.
The Victoria Police Department is calling the project a success, but the course was only offered once. At least one distracted driving advocate is hoping the program will be expanded across the province.
“Educating people seems to be having the most impact in terms of changing their belief system about what’s okay to do behind the wheel of a vehicle,” said Karen Bowman, founder of the distracted driving prevention program Drop It and Drive and the person who taught the workshop.
“I’d love to see this go far and wide.”
With files from The Canadian Press and a report from CTV Vancouver Island’s Scott Cunningham
Unfortunately, #distracteddriving has now eclipsed impaired driving as a cause of injury and death on our roads. Despite informational campaigns and fines and fees over $500!for first-time offenders, we’re still catching people driving while using their phones. So, we decided to try something new.Both hard-hitting and informative, this interactive 3-hour Restorative Justice seminar gave first-time offenders an opportunity to learn about distracted driving while taking personal responsibility for driving while distracted. As a result of a 2-day VicPD distracted driving enforcement campaign, 42 tickets were issued and 32 people attended this seminar. #yyj #yyjtraffic #traffic #mobile