Central Vancouver Island Traffic Services Cpl. Mike Elston inconspicuously dressed in highway maintenance gear on Tuesday in an effort to crack down on distracted driving.

Police ticket 100 drivers in Nanoose Bay sting

It was all part of enforcement related to Distracted Driving Month

Police officers gave out something other than lucky charms on St. Patricks’ Day.

Mounties issued 100 violation tickets during an annual undercover distracted driving campaign set up in Nanoose Bay — the efforts are part of a province-wide campaign to curb texting and talking on the phone while behind the wheel. Central Vancouver Island Traffic Services (CVITS) Cpl. Mike Elston was clad in highway maintenance threads perched on an EMCON dump truck (another officer was in a back hoe) near the intersection of Northwest Bay Road and Highway 19.

Elston — equipped with binoculars, a note pad and radio — was looking for distracted drivers.

“The use of those vehicles allowed the police to stay hidden in plain view and provided a view inside of vehicles from an elevated position which allowed us to see people using devices held low and out of sight,” he explained.  “There was no shortage of people seen texting, talking or using a handheld device, most of the time with the device held low so that they thought they weren’t being seen.” Elston, and other undercover officers, then radioed down to their in-uniform counterparts who waited at northbound and southbound check points just around the corner, one at Kinghorn Road and one at the Arlington Inn, respectively.

“If you come up to a red light or a stop sign that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to start using an electronic device,” he said.

ICBC road safety co ordinator Caroline Robinson said distracted driving is the second leading cause of car-related fatalities in B.C. Annually, she said, 12 people are killed on Vancouver Island alone in distracted driving related accidents.

Of the 100 tickets, 27 offenses were issued for use of an electronic device while driving, 15 for speeding and 18 for an illegal window tint. Elston said there was also one drug seizure, one prohibited weapon seizure (brass knuckles) and to the surprise of police, one vehicle was caught carrying a substantial amount of unsecured, corrosive material with no placards or indications of the material, nor any training in relation to the transportation of the goods.

Elston reminds drivers they are not allowed to operate an electronic device unless they are stopped and parked on the side of the road, However, he said devices may be used in a hands-free or one-touch fashion. The penalty for distracted driving is a $167 fine and three penalty points.

Ten members from Oceanside RCMP, CVITS, North Island Integrated Road Safety Unit and Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement helped with the campaign.

Just Posted

Parksville Qualicum Beach students the catalyst for #TrustYourself campaign

Social media initiative urges survivors of sexual assault to seek medical care

ORCA continues push for track upgrade at Ballenas

Running association official plans to meet with MLA on Thursday

Little Qualicum Cheeseworks cheese linked to 5 E. coli cases in B.C.

People are asked to throw out or return ‘Qualicum Spice’ cheese

Gas prices on Vancouver Island to drop six cents

But a ‘volatile’ market could lead to increases in the coming weeks

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Feds respond to sexual assault investigation at B.C. naval base

Report of Oct. 5 sexual assault on Vancouver Island base taken over by Canadian Forces National Investigation Service

EU divorce deal in peril after two UK Cabinet ministers quit

Negotiators from Britain and the European Union have struck a proposed divorce deal that will be presented to politicians on both sides for approval, officials in London and Brussels said Tuesday.

Northern California fire death toll at 56; 130 missing

Many of the missing are elderly and from Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 to the north of Paradise.

Canfor to buy 70 per cent stake in Swedish Vida Group for $580 million

The privately held company has nine sawmills in southern Sweden with an annual production capacity of 1.1 billion board feet.

Saudi prosecutor seeks death penalty in Khashoggi’s killing

Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor is recommending the death penalty for five suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Mixing business and family: Trudeau turns to Singapore ancestors to widen trade

Trudeau’s ancestor, Esther Bernard, born Farquhar (1796-1838) was the daughter of Major-General William Farquhar (1774-1839), the first British Resident and Commandant of Singapore.

Baloney Meter: Will tougher penalties for gang members make Canada safer?

Since 2013, gang-related homicides in Canada’s largest cities have almost doubled

Early data suggests no spike in pot-impaired driving after legalization: police

Some departments said it’s too early to provide data, others said initial numbers suggest stoned driving isn’t on the rise

Most Read