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RCMP remind drivers of distracted driving penalties in distracted driving month

March is Distracted Driving Month in B.C., and RCMP are reminding drivers of the penalties of distracted driving.

Distracted driving is now the second leading cause of fatal motor vehicle crashes in the province at more than 25 per cent. Handheld devices have been banned since 2010 and the penalty for using one while driving is a $368 ticket.

Four penalty points are also added to the fine, raising the cost.

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RCMP say distracted driving is not only limited to handheld electronic devices. They say distractions can be caused by things like eating food, programming a GPS, changing the radio station, drinking, smoking, vaping or talking to passengers.

They also say drivers are five times more likely to get in a crash while on a phone, posing a serious risk to themselves and others.

Even drivers who always have their eyes on the road, Police say you can still help, by reporting other motorists who may be distracted. If a vehicle is seen swerving or driving erratically, pull over and call 911 to provide as many details as possible.

They say if a motorist is seen speaking on the phone but not driving erratically, to call the non-emergency line at 250-285-3631.

Some police departments, like Quadra Island, are doing extra patrols and roadblocks during the campaign.

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