Nova Scotia

Distracted driving citations up in Cape Breton, police say

The number of distracted driving fines laid in Cape Breton Regional Municipality is now twice as high as those for drinking and driving, police say.

Distracted driving can be as dangerous as driving impaired, the Insurance Bureau of Canada says

Cape Breton police say they're issuing more fines for distracted driving than charges for impaired driving. (CBC)

The number of distracted driving fines is now twice as high as those charged for drinking and driving in Cape Breton Regional Municipality, police say.

More than 80 driving while impaired charges were laid in 2015, compared to 177 fines of texting while driving, said Sgt. Joe Farrell of the traffic safety division.

"It is more alarming than it is surprising," Farrell said, adding he sees distracted drivers frequently.

'A second or two makes a huge difference'

He says he wishes people would take the issue more seriously. 

Farrell says he frequently sees people distracted while driving. (CBC)

"If they see some of the collisions that we investigate, how quickly things can happen, a second or two makes a huge difference," Farrell said. 

Nearly 75 per cent of Canadian drivers admit to driving distracted, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada. 

Drivers are 23 times more likely to crash if they text behind the wheel, the bureau said.

'You're not fully attentive'

Distracted driving can be as dangerous as driving while impaired, bureau manager of government relations Tom Levesque said. 

"You are not focusing on your driving," he said. "You're not fully attentive to what you are doing."

A two-hour operation by Cape Breton police at an intersection in downtown Sydney this week netted 10 fines for texting behind the wheel. The fine is $237.50 and four demerit points off your licence.

That is comparable to a ticket for speeding, Farrell said.


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