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NEWS RELEASE · 9th June 2010
RCMP
RCMP are reminding all citizens of new legislation that prohibits the use of hand-held devices and cellular phones while driving. As of January 1st, 2010 the new BC laws states that drivers cannot:

- send or read text messages or e-mails
- make or receive calls unless using hands-free device
- hold or operate any electronic device
- operate hand-held OR hands-free cellphones if a learner or novice driver (in GLP)

“Using” an electronic device includes:
- holding the device in your hand
- operating one of its functions (i.e. press buttons)
- talking on the device
- watching the device
(only required to be doing one of these actions to commit an offence)

What is an “electronic device” ?
- cell phones, Blackberry, and other hand-held devices that have telephone capabilities and on which you can send text messages or emails
- Ipods and other music players
- GPS systems
- hand microphones
- televisions
- other handheld electronic devices

What are the fines?
For graduated license holders (learners and novice), who cannot use any electronic device within the meaning of the legislation including hands-free...
$ 167 Fine and 3 penalty points

All other drivers, for use of an electronic device that is not allowed by legislation but that does not involve texting or emailing, like talking on a cell phone...
$ 167 Fine and no penalty points

For using an electronic device to communicate with another person or another device by email or other text based message, or by dialing...
$ 167 Fine and 3 penalty points


RCMP officers will not specifically target people using hand-held electronic devices but will issue tickets if drivers are observed to be using them.

As mentioned above, the legislation is designed to improve road safety and reduce your chances of getting into a collision. Studies have shown that a driver using a cell phone is up to four times more likely to be in an accident, and texting or emailing while driving increases the chance of a crash by 23 times.

As police our advice has always been to either pull over to the side of the road to make or take a call, or let the call go to voicemail and return it when you are safely stopped.

Remember Road safety is everyone’s responsibility.