South Okanagan RCMP wearing disguises to catch distracted drivers

South Okanagan RCMP wearing disguises to catch distracted drivers

Distracted drivers can expect to be detected long before they ever see a police car

RCMP in the South Okanagan are getting creative in an attempt to catch distracted drivers.

Officers acting as spotters are now dressing in civilian clothing, construction uniforms, and more, and radioing ahead to let uniformed officers know of an incoming distracted driver. Traffic officers are also using commercial vehicles, like transport buses, as elevated platforms to catch those using devices while driving.

Distracted drivers can expect to be detected long before they ever see a police car or an officer in uniform, RCMP explained in a release Tuesday.

“We could just do enforcement but we would be missing an opportunity to prevent these offences from happening in the first place. To that end, we are raising awareness and actually advertising our tactics in the hopes that drivers with an illegal electronic device habit will change their behaviour,” said Sgt. Ryan McLeod, Unit Commander of South Okanagan Traffic Services (SOTS)

“Penalties aside, we are asking drivers to ask themselves one question: ‘Is that text message or phone call worth my life or the life of someone else?’”

READ MORE: Above average rainfall in Okanagan-Shuswap a positive for fire season: Environment Canada

This comes after a distracted driving enforcement blitz, across the South Okanagan in March, saw over 200 tickets issued in the communities of Penticton, Summerland, Princeton, Keremeos, Osoyoos and Oliver.

The use of hand-held electronic devices while driving, RCMP explained, has been banned in B.C. since 2010. A ticket for distracted driving involves a $368 fine and four penalty points ($252) for a total penalty of $620.

RCMP say distracted driving is responsible for more than one in four fatal crashes in B.C., and claims 76 lives each year. Studies show that drivers using their electronic devices lose sight of about 50 per cent of what is going on around them visually, and are five times more likely to crash.

The traffic authority encouraged drivers “not to play the guessing game” only to learn that the person they thought was a construction worker, pedestrian or bus passenger, was actually a police officer in disguise.

“Please make it your habit to ignore your electronic devices when driving and wear your seatbelt – it could save your life,” said the RCMP.

READ MORE: International students, B.C. homestay families learn to live together during the pandemic

READ MORE: Okanagan singer’s country hit goes viral

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

RCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelowna, B.C. (Contributed)
November temperatures warmer than average in Kelowna

Kelowna won’t see much in the way of rain or snow until around Dec. 10

The Wilson’s Landing Fire Department holds its Christmas Santa Run Food Drive from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7. (Photo submitted)
Westside fire department holding food drive

Annual Wilson’s Landing Fire Department Christmas Santa Run Food Drive goes Monday, Dec. 7

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

The Rutland IGA is located in Willow Park Shopping Centre at 590 BC-33. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Customer asked to mask up, throws hot coffee at Rutland IGA employee

The woman grabbed cat food on her way out when she refused to wear a mask

Police service dog Fitz helped track and rescue a lost hiker and his dog in Kelowna. (Kelowna RCMP)
Kelowna police dog Fitz dies of cancer

Fitz recently helped locate a lost hiker in the Central Okanagan

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

RCMP searched for a suspect in Polson Park following an assault on a woman Thursday, Nov. 26. (Morning Star file photo)
Public warned after woman assaulted in Vernon’s Polson Park

RCMP on the hunt for suspect, described as in his 30’s

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

City of Armstrong Public Works Yard. (Google Maps)
Armstrong city staffer threatened in snow removal complaint

Community services manager says ‘veiled threat’ is believed to have been flippant, but is being taken seriously

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Okanagan Quality Life Society which usually gives tours of Okanagan Lake to seniors and shut-ins on its boat Heaven Can Wait has created a virtual tour video in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which shut down the tours in 2020. (Morning Star - file photo)
Okanagan Lake virtual boat tours launched

Okanagan Quality Life Society normally gives tours on Okanagan Lake on its boat Heaven Can Wait

Most Read