Distracted driving has become an epidemic on our roads and highways. The most recent statistics indicate that more people were killed in British Columbia by distracted driving than by impaired driving. This is a startling statistic that should concern each and every one of us.
Under the current law, the penalty is a $167 fine for using an electronic device while driving, and the penalty for e-mail and texting while driving is $167 plus three demerit points.
Unfortunately, this appears to have had little effect. As one example, CBC News reported last month a Vancouver man racked up 26 tickets and fines of $4,300 for distracted driving before finally being arrested for driving while prohibited.
It can be argued that the reason people can’t put their phones down while driving is an addiction to social networking, what some have called the “next form” of internet addiction. A study conducted by Chicago University concluded that social media addiction can be stronger than addiction to cigarettes. People apparently have a compulsion to use social media to excess, to the detriment of their lives in the real world.
A profound example of the tragic consequences that can result due to this inability to stay off social networks while driving was the recent death of 32-year-old Courtney Ann Sanford of Clemmons, North Carolina. According to an April 28, 2014 posting on The Huffington Post webpage, investigators were puzzled over the cause of the accident until it was uncovered Ms. Sanford had been taking selfies and updating her Facebook profile just prior to the accident. Ms. Sanford’s last update to her Facebook status was: “The happy song makes me HAPPY”. The Facebook picture to the left is a selfie of Ms. Sanford posted by the media suggesting it was taken just before the accident.
Lt. Chris Weisner, a police spokesperson, stated: “The Facebook text happened at 8:33 a.m. We got the call on the wreck at 8:34 a.m. In a matter of seconds, a life was over just so she could notify some friends that she was happy.”
This was a senseless tragedy that could have been avoided, and more importantly, DIDN’T HAVE TO HAPPEN. If nothing else, please take this example as a wake-up call and an opportunity to change your driving habits. Driving a motor vehicle is a privilege, not a right, and by getting behind the wheel you are potentially putting not only your life but the lives of everyone else on the road at risk.
Before you consider picking up that cell phone while driving, ask yourself: Is it worth it?
Einfeld Law is a highly knowledgeable and experienced BC personal injury law firm specializing in motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other negligence claims involving bodily injury. We have successfully litigated many ICBC and other insurance claims, including out of province, wrongful death, brain injury, spinal cord injury, whiplash, soft tissue injury, and all other bodily injury claims. We have collected millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. We never act for ICBC or other insurance companies.