Drivers ignore warning signs on their way to distracted driving tickets

Brent Richter / North Shore News

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A North Vancouver RCMP member prepares to issue a ticket Tuesday afternoon during a distracted driving enforcement blitz at three strategic locations on the North Shore. photo Cindy Goodman, North Shore News

“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign,” the song’s lyrics go. “Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”

For a host of drivers on the North Shore Tuesday afternoon, the answer is evidently not.

In the span of just two hours, members of the North Vancouver RCMP, West Vancouver Police Department and the Integrated Road Safety Unit ticketed 74 people for using an electronic device while driving.

But those snagged in the sting can’t say they weren’t warned. Police publicized the campaign the day before and also posted dozens of signs on the roadways warning drivers of the distracted driving blitz as they approached Capilano Road and Marine Drive, Lions Gate Bridge as well as Taylor Way at Marine.

North Vancouver RCMP even brought in an electronic construction sign declaring “POLICE AHEAD STAY OFF YOUR PHONE.”

“The use of personal electronic devices while driving has been banned in B.C. since Jan. 1 2010, said Cpl. Richard De Jong, North Vancouver RCMP spokesman. “It is evident there is still more education and enforcement needed to make our roads safer.”

Compliance has been far worse than what police saw when seatbelts were made mandatory, De Jong said, or when police began targeting impaired driving.

A North Vancouver RCMP member prepares to issue a ticket Tuesday afternoon during a distracted driving enforcement blitz at three strategic locations on the North Shore. photo Cindy Goodman, North Shore News

“This electronic device is a different beast in itself because it’s something our whole lives are geared around and generated towards,” he said.

West Vancouver police spokesman Const. Jeff Palmer dropped in on the fun mainly as an observer but also ended up pulling out the ticket book himself.

“As I was walking along, I look over to my left and in one of the lanes going by is somebody with his head buried in his phone, texting with two thumbs,” he said.

Getting caught using your electronic device behind the wheel will result in an immediate $368 ticket plus demerits from ICBC. For repeat offenders, the penalties from ICBC can reach as high as $2,000.

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