Left to right: Speedwatch volunteers Riley Cullen and Amarjot Bassi join Const. Alyn Beerda and ICBC safety coordinator Don Miller (behind) as they remind drivers to slow down in school zones and stay focus on the road.

Distracted drivers targeted in Mission this month

ICBC stats show you're 23 times more likely to crash while texting

Local police and ICBC want to get distracted drivers off the road this month.

Speedwatch volunteers are setting up around the community and RCMP are following closely behind with enforcement. The two groups, along with ICBC road safety coordinator Don Miller, were set up at Heritage Park Secondary School last week to give drivers the warning.

According to ICBC, distracted driving is the third leading cause of fatal crashes in B.C. with an average of 94 deaths per year.

Statistics show a quarter of crashes from 2007 to 2011 were related to distracted driving, said Miller, adding you’re 23 times more likely to crash while texting and four times more if you’re talking on the phone.

Place your calls before you drive and retrieve your messages after you’ve pulled over, encouraged Miller.

Mission RCMP Const. Alyn Beerda still sees drivers talk on the phone every day and advises motorists to put their phones in the glove box or in another place out of reach for the driver.

“Remove the temptation,” he explained.

Don’t reach for the cellphone even if you are stopped at a traffic light because you are still in traffic and might have to move over if there is an emergency vehicle coming your way, said Beerda.

Enforcement is ongoing, but it is stepped up this month.

Remember to slow down to 30 km/h in school zones and vehicles from both directions must stop for school buses when their lights are flashing, Miller added.