Burnaby, British Columbia – British Columbia’s drivers are more alert and the roads are safer because of the distracted driver law, although an alarming number of drivers admit to occasionally breaking it, according to a new survey by the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA).

The law, which forbids talking on a hand-held cell phone or texting while driving, has now been in effect for a year.

Among those surveyed, 57 per cent said they felt roads were safer as a result of the law, and 34 per cent said they are paying more attention to the way they drive because of the law.

Of those surveyed, 14 per cent continue to talk “frequently”, more than once a week, using a hands-free device, while only three person admit to talking frequently using a hand-held phone. However, almost 13 per cent said they continue to talk “occasionally” on a hand-held phone.

Eighty per cent said they frequently observe other drivers talking on hand-held phones. When they do, 55 per cent said they give a dirty look or gesture to the driver to get off the phone. Three per cent say something to the driver, while two per cent write down the license plate number and give it to the police.

“While BCAA doesn’t recommend engaging with other drivers over their cell phone and texting habits, the responses to this survey suggest drivers are frustrated by those who continue to disobey the law,” said Trace Acres, BCAA director of corporate communications and public affairs. “Although awareness of and compliance with the law appears to be high, it seems we still have a ways to go to make everyone understand the dangers of driving while distracted.”

Survey respondents also indicated that they felt enforcement has slipped. Six months ago, 26 per cent of survey respondents felt that there was a good chance of being caught and ticketed for texting or hand-held phone use, but today only 15 per cent believe so.

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