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March 24, 2014
For immediate release
Distracted driving dangerous and illegal, Islanders reminded
Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal
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Islanders are being reminded to stop using their mobile devices while driving, Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Robert Vessey says.
“Using a smart phone or other hand-held device while driving is dangerous and illegal,” Minister Vessey said. “By continuing to encourage Islanders to leave the phone alone, we have the opportunity to change behaviours that can lead to a lifetime of safer driving habits.”
The province’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal and the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) are again partnering with Hot 105.5 FM on a campaign begun last year to discourage distracted driving. Officials launched the program with the radio station at Charlottetown Rural High School this morning (March 24).
From June to August 2013, 4,500 Islanders signed Hot 105.5’s two-month pledge to “leave the phone alone.” The number of distracted driving convictions fell in 2013 to 215, from a four-year high of 258 in 2012. Driving while using a mobile device became illegal in 2010 in Prince Edward Island.
This year, Hot 105.5 will again attend festivals throughout the province and have a few surprises for Islanders who pledge to avoid driving while distracted. Those who sign the pledge will be entered to win an iPad.
“We are happy to be involved in any partnership that helps drivers recognize the dangers of not fully concentrating on their driving,” said Amanda Dean, vice-president, Atlantic, IBC. “Distractions are a factor in many collisions, and we need to convince people that the practice of texting or using the phone while driving is socially unacceptable and inherently dangerous.”
Drivers caught using their hand-held device while driving face penalties of up to $400 and three demerit points, in addition to more severe penalties if the offense results in injury or death. For more on the Leave the Phone Alone campaign, visit www.hot1055fm.com, or distracted driving, www.gov.pe.ca/distracteddriving. Watch the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ULpIkJPII0