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INFORMATION BULLETIN

2009PSSG0046-000801
Dec. 30, 2009

Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General

 

 

NEW YEAR BEGINS WITH NEW CELLPHONE RULES

 

VICTORIA – B.C. drivers have one more day before they must abide by a new law that brings in a full ban on hand-held cellphones and texting while driving.

 

On Jan. 1, 2010, police will begin enforcing changes to the Motor Vehicle Act that mean drivers can only use hands-free cellphones and devices that require just one touch to activate. Fines will begin on Feb. 1, when a driver talking on a hand-held phone or electronic device will be subject to a fine of $167. In addition, drivers caught texting or emailing will be subject to three penalty points.

 

To abide by the new law, licensed drivers can use hands-free technology that is activated by a single touch to a button, or when it is safe to do so, pull over to a legal parking place and stop their vehicle before they talk or email.

 

New drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) face a full ban on all cellphone and electronic devices, including hands-free. A recent report entitled ‘Teens and Distracted Driving’ by Washington D.C.-based Pew Research found that of those teens 16 to 17 years of age who own a cellphone or text regularly, more than half have talked on a cellphone while driving, and one in three has texted while driving.

 

Police, fire and ambulance personnel who may need to make calls in the performance of their duties, and motorists who need to call 9-1-1 are exempt from the legislation. The use of two-way radios for commercial or industrial vehicles will be permitted.

 

To help raise awareness of the new law among drivers, the Province and ICBC have started a public education campaign. As well, the Province is placing highway signs along B.C. roads at major international border crossings and airports to warn motorists not to drive using hand-held devices.

 

For details on what is permitted and what is prohibited under the legislation, go to:

http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/osmv/publications/index.htm.

 

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Contact:

 

Public Affairs Bureau

Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General

250 356-6961

 

For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at www.gov.bc.ca.