It’s been a busy week in B.C. for road safety related announcements by our provincial government. ICBC announced a distracted driving technology pilot project, dangerous drivers may expect to be subject to longer periods of driving prohibition, the CounterAttack program turns 40 years old and the investigation of cognitively impaired drivers will no longer include DriveABLE testing.
Would you like to participate in a telematics pilot project? ICBC will be looking for 200 volunteers willing to connect their smartphones to their vehicles via an app and a dongle that plugs onto the OBD port. The app will block the use of the phone when the vehicle is being driven.
Applicants for the project will be selected from ICBC’s Customer Advisory Panel. You are invited to become a member and share your opinions, even if you are not recruited for this test.
Also included in the technology pilot will be the use of Laser Technology Incorporated’s TruSpeed SXB with the LaserSoft SpeedCapture app. The device and software are intended to capture an image of the distracted driver at an observation point. The image can then be shared with the officer at the point where the driver is stopped who can then show the evidence along with issuing a ticket.
The same system will also be able to show evidence of speeding when the system is used for speed enforcement.
If you are a street racer, like to do stunt driving on our highways or participate in other high risk driving behaviours such as excessive speeding or driving without due care and attention, you may expect a longer driving prohibition from RoadSafetyBC if caught. “The drivers posing the greatest risk to people’s lives are often caught repeatedly, and that tells us they aren’t taking the consequences seriously,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.
Some prohibited drivers continue to drive, even in the face of significant penalties. The use of Automated Licence Plate Recognition by police has made these drivers much easier to find and be held to account. Mandatory vehicle impoundment, regardless of who owns the vehicle, will immediately eliminate the ability to drive in the short term and Civil Foreiture could provide a longer term solution in significant cases.
We’ve made progress to end alcohol impaired driving since the CounterAttack program began in 1977, reducing the average annual death toll from over 300 to the current level of 65 people. In the face of anticipated changes to our laws surrounding marihuana and widespread use of drugs other than alcohol in our society, it’s probably time to change the reference to drunk driving and include all drugs that impair a driver’s ability.
ICBC’s special event permit kit is available to order for free for party hosts planning to serve alcohol, encouraging guests to not drink and drive.
Finally, it appears that older drivers no longer need to fear a computer based DriveABLE assessment beginning on March 1, 2018. Testing of medically or cognitively impaired drivers will be conducted by ICBC in an Enhanced Road Assessment. RoadSafetyBC’s Information Guide outlines the process. It appears that the Class 5 road test will be modified “incorporating new components to assess driving errors that may result from cognitive impairment and other areas of medical concern.”
The test is conducted in the driver’s own vehicle and will “gradually increase the complexity of driving tasks, provide a break and feedback midway through, and have clear parameters for ending an assessment early if necessary, all to help maximize safety in real-world driving conditions.”