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Distracted Driving in BC- TELUS Thumbs up. Phones down. Distracted Driving in BC- TELUS Thumbs up. Phones down.
It was last Thursday afternoon.  It had been a really long week of gradual entry for both Preschool and Kindergarten for the girls.  It... Distracted Driving in BC- TELUS Thumbs up. Phones down.

It was last Thursday afternoon.  It had been a really long week of gradual entry for both Preschool and Kindergarten for the girls.  It had been a really long week of gradual entry for both preschool and Kindergarten for ME!

The girls were running on empty and I was running on emptier!

I’m not sure if it’s because the girls just spent 2.5 months with each other all day everyday or what, but the new thing in our house is c.o.n.s.t.a.n.t bickering between our 2.5 year old and (nearly) 5 year old.  It has me at wits end by the end of most days.  There were a lot of moments this summer where I was pretty sure I was going to lose my mind.  For real, this time.  😛

Throw in a long day of new beginnings and transitions and when the girls started at each other in the car on Thursday to head home, I needed to hear something (ANYTHING) other than the battle in the backseat.

We came to a stop in typical North Shore traffic on Marine Dr. and I grabbed at my phone frantically and started just shy of yelling at Siri to “PLAY : BAD BLOOD”. (Yes, we are a family of Taylor Swift fans.)

Siri couldn’t hear my request so I hit the button again and tried to enunciate a little more clearly, attempting to beat out the background noise of the kids.  “PLAYYYY BADDDDD BLOOOOD”.

No dice.  No Bad Blood.  No peace and quiet in the car.

What I did get when I looked to my right, was a flag down from a police officer who watched me yelling at Siri twice and then putting my phone back into my cup holder (after having given up, totally exasperated).

I pulled off to the side, really nervous and frustrated.  I have been driving for 21 years and have never EVER been pulled over.  I don’t have one speeding ticket to my name and I knew I was about to land my first infraction.  NOOOOOOO.

“Hi there Miss.  License and registration please”, said the police officer through my window (and over the questioning of the littles in the back asking me why we stopped and why I opened my window and why the policeman was talking to me AND AND AND).

I handed over my documents and explained that I was only using Siri to try and play a song.  I wasn’t typing, I wasn’t having a phone conversation, I wasn’t even looking down at the screen.  Turns out- none of that matters and I was told something I never knew.

You cannot have your phone in your lap!
You cannot have your phone in your cup holder!
You cannot have your phone anywhere loose in your vehicle! NOWHERE!

Otherwise, the penalty is a ticket like mine!
distracted driving TELUS wise

Experienced drivers may use hands-free devices (ex: pre-programmed GPS, microphones, audio players, etc.), but only under certain conditions. The device must be:

  • Securely attached to the car or driver, and not loose in your lap, cup holder or on the seat next to you, and
  • Voice activated, taking only one touch to accept or end a call.
  • If the device has an earpiece, it must be worn in one ear only, placed before driving. (Note that motorcyclists can wear an earpiece in both ears.)

Where you CAN have your phone:

  • In your purse/bag
  • In your glove box or arm rest
  • In your pocket
  • Attached to your car securely

I did NOT know this.  Did you?  If I had read this amazing TELUS WISE distracted driving guide front to cover when I first found out about it, instead of letting it sit in my inbox for weeks… I would have known.

TELUS wise

From now on, my phone will be in a phone holder!

Phone-holder-TELUS-wise-e1442280733397

I urge you to take a moment to read the TELUS WISE distracted driving guide.  It has so much valuable information.  While I am writing about my own personal experience of distracted driving resulting in a fine, the statistics are frightening about the deaths that are caused every year in BC as a result of distracted driving.

I used my experience as a teachable moment for the girls.  I explained to them WHY anyone who is driving a car shouldn’t be using their phone.  It’s not because you can get a ticket.  It’s because you could seriously harm (the language I used with them) another person and it is our responsibility to be safe behind the wheels of our own cars.  You better believe that every single time we get in the car now, Portia reminds me not to use my phone.  Here’s hoping this sets a positive example that carries through her teens and adult life.

About TELUS WISE

TELUS WISE (WISE Internet and Smartphone Education) is a free educational program available to all Canadians – focusing on Internet and Smartphone safety/security to help keep families safer from online criminal activity such as financial fraud and cyberbullying.

For more information about TELUS WISE, head to the TELUS WISE site and check out their TELUS WISE posts on their blog.  (There are some great resources for your wee ones here too!)

TELUS wise activity books- learning made fun for kids!

TELUS WISE activity books- learning made fun for kids!

 

Disclosure:  I am a proud advocate for #TeamTELUS.  I receive special perks as a thank you for helping to share all the great programs and initiatives going on at TELUS.  

Jessica Blumel

Nice to meet you! I'm Jessica a.k.a North Shore Mama. This site was born out of my love for my daughters and the desire to share my motherhood journey with fellow moms. I believe we're all in this craziness called 'parenthood' together and North Shore Mama is my way of reaching out to anyone who needs a laugh, a cry or dinner inspiration. Thank you so much for reading!

  • Tara

    September 14, 2015 #1 Author

    Wow! I never knew that either. Totally guilty. It is in my cup holder all the time. Thanks for sharing. I will check out the resource. And a sad side effect, you will likely not be able to drive on school field trips. It just takes one infraction on your record. And they live there for 5 years. Maybe some schools are different, but that is the rule in ours.

    Reply

    • Jessica Blumel

      September 14, 2015 #2 Author

      NOOO… that would be so sad, if that is the case :(.

      Reply

  • irene

    September 15, 2015 #3 Author

    I’m not a rebel but this type of ridiculous infraction makes me one as I see red. I didn’t know this was illegal and sometimes talk on the phone with it in my lap and on speaker. I set it up and drive out of my driveway onto another appointment while chatting ‘basically’ to the road. I don’t see the difference with having a lovely little microphone on your visor and your phone in a holder on your dash. If anything, seeing a phone on my dash would be a lot more distracting. …Sometimes rules can be rather excessive. …Humourously I was driving along Davie in rush hour on my way home from work and chatting this way on speaker with my husband while in stop and go traffic. I stopped at a red light and a bus driver pulled up on my right. As I was watching pedestrians cross from left to right in front of my car my eye caught the bus driver on my left as her window was in line with mine. I saw her mouth, “You’re talking on your phone.” And points to it in my lap. …. Here’s the funny part… She had a bus full of people getting on and off the bus and was driving it with a styrofoam clamshell open in her lap and a fork in her hand as she was saying this. All that was missing was a tablecloth and glass of wine!! :) :) And she’s spearing the air at me with a fork in her hand? I could barely contain myself I began to laugh so hard. Tears streaming down my face as I lightly pressed the gas when the light turned green. Now THAT was a moment!

    Reply

    • Daniel K

      August 12, 2016 #4 Author

      Sorry to say but ignorance does not make it legal. It’s still your responsibility at the end of the day to be familiar with the complete MVA when you get behind the wheel of your car. Does it make the bus driver right as well, no, but worry about yourself before you worry about others.

      Reply

  • Keith

    September 16, 2015 #5 Author

    The hypocrisy of these laws is quite irritating. You’d think that there should be a Canadian law that mandates car stereos to only have one button then. Only one radio station favorite. Actually, just power. Because some people are inept with their cell phones, the rest of us risks paying the price.

    From a techie view, I got myself an after-market stereo that has a microphone with a long cord I wound through my car’s interior framing to the sun visor. When my phone is connected via bluetooth, that microphone helps a lot as it doesn’t pick up much ambient noise to get confused with my voice commands. (I also use Google, not Siri *coughcough* lol)

    Reply

  • Molly

    September 16, 2015 #6 Author

    Yah, um, if having my cell phone sitting in my cup holder is distracted driving………well then NO ONE with kids should EVER be allowed to drive a car. Because I can tell you that kids are WAY more distracting than my cell phone sitting in the cup holder (rolls eyes)

    Reply

  • Karyne

    September 16, 2015 #7 Author

    Not exactly accurate information in this article.
    Her mistake was putting her hands on her phone.
    A phone can be in the center console – it does not have to be secured if you are not planning to use it. If you are using it with a bluetooth or other hands-free manner, then yes, it needs to be secured.

    Best info out there to get ACCURATE info – http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/osmv/shareddocs/electronic-devices-while-driving.pdf

    Reply

    • Jessica Blumel

      September 17, 2015 #8 Author

      Thanks for your comment, Karyne. I am going off the information that I heard straight from the police officer. I’ll be taking his word for it, as I don’t want any more tickets 😉

      Reply

  • Rich

    September 18, 2015 #9 Author

    The device ONLY has to be mounted if it is being viewed or touched. If the device is 100% hands free (can be accessed via steering wheel buttons) then it can live in the cupholder. The officer told you it has to be mounted because of the way you are using the phone (you were touching it)

    But what you are saying here is that it cannot be in the cupholder AT ALL – which is not correct. You are essentially spreading heresay.

    Reply

    • Jessica Blumel

      September 21, 2015 #10 Author

      Hi Rich! When I asked the police officer if it could be in the cupholder EVEN IF I wasn’t using it, he said NO! He said, it can be nowhere ‘loose’ in the car. He went on to tell me I should keep it in the arm rest compartment or in my purse but that I cannot leave it in my cupholder. I think it is absolutely important that we take what someone says and do our own research, but all I am saying in the post is what I was told personally and the rules I am now following so that I do not get ticketed again :)

      Reply

      • Daniel K

        August 12, 2016 #11 Author

        I quote from this article, statement from a RCMP officer: http://www.langleytimes.com/news/383334271.html

        “If you have a smartphone, don’t leave it on your passenger seat to tempt you to look at it when it buzzes or beeps with a text or call, police add. But a smartphone placed in your cup holder isn’t going to cost you a distracted driving ticket, said Largy.”

        Obviously this can be unfortunately one of those things that is the discretion of the PO, perhaps they are having a bad day, or it depends on your manner towards them when you get pulled over. However, it does clearly show that cup holder placement is not 100% vetoed.

        Reply

  • Jaralyn

    September 25, 2015 #12 Author

    This was very informative and I had no idea I’ve been breaking so many of these rules! I am much more cautious and aware now thanks to you.

    Reply

  • Jeff

    January 15, 2016 #13 Author

    My cousin just got told the same thing about it being illegal to have phone in the cupholder. But i just looked through all the bc laws i could find and NOWHERE could i find mention of that! Do you know where it says that?

    Reply

    • Jessica Blumel

      January 16, 2016 #14 Author

      Hi Jeff! I couldn’t find that written in stone anywhere either. I feel like it might be case by case at this point. I think the idea is that the phone cannot be anywhere LOOSE in the car, thus including the cup holder. I’ve heard that different districts are more strict on the cup holder rule, so it all feels a little ‘grey’ to me still.

      Reply

  • Marilyn

    January 30, 2016 #15 Author

    Learned to drive before cell phones. Mom always told me when I touched the radio or cassette player or changed CDs that I was not paying attention. She was right. Even that second when you look away to push a single button to answer or end a call is a distraction. It’s all well and good to for other commenters to grumble about “arbitrary” laws but when people get arbitrarily killed because someone else had to talk on the phone (with Siri or a human being), that seems a lot more unfair. When you are driving, you should do only one thing: drive.

    As a parent, if you can’t tell your kids to sit quietly in the car while you drive, you shouldn’t drive with them. Mom raised seven kids and we knew to sit down and be quiet.

    Reply

  • Chantal Branson Contorines

    February 25, 2016 #16 Author

    This new law is so nuts! I had no idea it was so extensive (I get the whole hands free driving thing, just not these parameters they’ve set). Thank you for posting.

    Reply

  • Daniel K

    August 12, 2016 #17 Author

    Today that ticket would cost you triple, so consider this an early warning :)

    Reply

    • Jessica Blumel

      August 26, 2016 #18 Author

      Yes and more than anything it was an opportunity to stop all my bad habits! :)

      Reply

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