Police in Trail, Castlegar and Nelson handed out 41 tickets for distracted driving on Friday. Black Press file photo

West Kootenay blitz hands out 41 distracted driving tickets

On Friday, local police took part in a provincial-wide crack down on distracted driving

Friday saw local police take part in a province-wide campaign targeting distracted drivers and occupant restraints.

Between Nelson, Castlegar, and Trail, police officers with Traffic Services and Nelson City Police wrote 41 distracted driving and eight seatbelt violation tickets.

The numbers weren’t broken down by respective city said Sgt. Chad Badry of the West Kootenay Traffic and Integrated Road Safety Unit.

“We could’ve easily stayed in one location and handed out more tickets,” he told the Trail Times.

Although the impact of distracted driving is well documented, Badry admitted he “wasn’t surprised” by the number of tickets handed out.

“But I’m disappointed.”

He added that distracted driving has “played a role” in some of the tragedies on our local highways over the winter

In the same operation police also wrote 36 violation tickets for other offences and issued 15 Notice & Orders, which are mainly due to vehicle defects.

“Distracted driving, which includes the use of cell phones, remains one of the top three contributing factors to crashes in our area and in the province,” said Badry in a press release.

“It is important that drivers understand the definition of “use” in the Motor Vehicle Act includes holding a device in a position in which it may be used such as balanced on a lap or in hand.

Changing a song on a phone or ipod is still using it.

In addition, one of the worst times a driver can use their cell phone is while stopped in traffic. A driver’s instinct is to start moving as soon as traffic starts moving again, but the driver has missed all that is going on around the driver with other vehicles and pedestrians.

The campaign occurred on the same day, the BC Government, ICBC, and police introduced new measures to combat distracted driving.

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