Delta Police Const. Ken Usipiuk speaks with a driver he pulled over on March 14, as part of the DPD’s recent distracted driving enforcement and awareness blitz in North Delta. (Delta Police Department photo)

Delta Police Const. Ken Usipiuk speaks with a driver he pulled over on March 14, as part of the DPD’s recent distracted driving enforcement and awareness blitz in North Delta. (Delta Police Department photo)

Police hold distracted driving enforcement blitz in North Delta

Wednesday’s event caught 10 distracted drivers in one hour

Police in North Delta nabbed ten drivers during a recent distracted driving enforcement blitz.

As part of distracted driving awareness month, the Delta Police Department held an enforcement and awareness blitz to catch drivers who weren’t focused on the road.

From 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on March 14 officers issued 10 violation tickets in the area of Scott Road and 72nd Avenue. Though some weren’t for distracted driving, this is still a “steady” amount of tickets, according to DPD public affairs coordinator Cris Leykauf.

Distracted driving involves any activity — not just texting and calling — that causes the driver to lose focus on the road, and Leykauf said combating this behaviour is a priority for the department.

“Distracted driving is one of the biggest challenges we face from a traffic perspective, and it is a top cause of injuries and fatalities, up there with speeding and impaired driving,” Leykauf said.

According to government figures, 25 per cent of fatal accidents in B.C. are related to distracted driving, causing an average of 78 deaths per year. With the rise of mobile devices, distraction is approaching impaired driving as a leading cause of injury and death on the province’s roads.

Earlier this week, New Westminster Police caught a driver using a electronic device twice in just seven minutes, leading to $736 in fines and eight penalty points on their license.

This month, the B.C. government implemented higher penalties for drivers that get a second distracted driving ticket within two years. The combination of fines and ICBC penalty points for a second offence in that time could total $2,000.

With the high rate of distracted driving, Leykauf said, initiatives like Wednesday’s distracted driving blitz will continue throughout the year.

— with files from Miranda Gathercole, Tom Fletcher and Ashley Wadhwani