Only a ‘lunatic’ would text and drive: BC Children’s Hospital

Doctor urges teens to put their phones away when behind the wheel

Imagine driving with your eyes closed for 4.6 seconds.

That’s the time it takes you to drive an entire city block. And how long it takes to send a text.

If you think that’s a good idea, you’re wrong, says Dr. Ian Pike, director of the BC Injury Research & Prevention Unit at BC Children’s Hospital.

“It’s just impossible to attend to two things at once,” Pike said. “If you asked a person to drive down the street with their eyes closed for 4.6 seconds, … they would think you were a lunatic.”

That’s why, as the summer heats up and more drivers take to the roads, the hospital is asking everyone to leave their phone alone while at the wheel.

According to Pike, people are 23 times more likely to crash if they text while driving. ICBC found that 34 per cent of crashes involving youth were as a result of distracted driving. In 2015 – the last year for which figures are available – that amounted to more than 10,000 crashes across B.C.

“If you’ve got your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds, you can imagine the distance you’ve covered – particularly at highway speeds,” he said.

READ MORE: Tougher penalties for distracted drivers in B.C.

Pike acknowledged it’s a challenge to get teens, who grew up with cellphones in hand, to put them away while driving.

He lauded the invention of ‘do not disturb’ apps, including the automatic iPhone setting that puts the phone into ‘do not disturb’ as soon as it detects it moving quickly.

Pike said the province can reduce distracted driving crashes in the same way it curbed those caused by drunk-driving.

In 2010, B.C. imposed harsh new penalties and launched a massive education campaign on the dangers of getting behind the wheel impaired.

READ MORE: Remembering Alexa: 10 years after a drunk driver killed a young girl

“The drunk driving campaign is a very good news story,” Pike said. “The millennial generation has really embraced that message and they have really taken responsibility for drinking and driving.”

He pointed to his own millennial daughter, who he says “never went out to party without having a designated driver. They all just take turns.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Ocean “Blob” returns to North Coast of B.C.

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Pot sales down by nearly 70% on Day 2 of legalization in B.C.

Several products on BC Cannabis Store are still sold out

Most Read