Nanaimo RCMP say officers handed out 19 tickets in 90 minutes Sept. 22 and remind people not to text while driving. (Black Press file photo)

Island RCMP remind drivers not to text after 19 tickets handed out in 90 minutes

The $368 fines were handed out Tuesday on Norwell Drive and Old Island Highway in Nanaimo

Police are reminding drivers it is illegal to text while driving after officers doled out 19 tickets in 90 minutes along Island Highway near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo Tuesday.

According to a Nanaimo RCMP press release, officers set up in the intersection of Norwell Drive and Old Island Highway Tuesday afternoon, with a uniformed officer being assisted by “a nearby spotter.” Offenders were handed $368 fines for use of electronic device while driving, the press release stated.

Nineteen tickets were handed out in 90 minutes, the press release said, with “young and old, new drivers and experienced, male, female, all demographics,” ticketed, said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesperson.

“Many of the drivers could offer no excuse as to why they were using their phone,” said O’Brien in the press release. “Others, as expected, were quite defensive and expressed, in somewhat colourful terms, what they thought of the fine being handed out. Drivers throughout Nanaimo can expect to see continued enforcement targeting drivers who drive and text. So, ask yourself, was the ‘LOL’ worth it?”

MORE RCMP NEWS: Mounties seize firearms, portable debit machine in arrest

O’Brien said officers involved were not surprised by the results, as they see this playing out every day at every street, road and intersection. Electronic device usage while driving is a close second to impaired driving as the leading cause of collisions on highways across the province, he said.

Among tips offered by police: turn your phone to silent setting, keep it out of reach and if drivers have passengers, assign “a designated texter.”

For more on the dangers of texting while driving, go to www.caa.ca/distracted-driving/statistics.


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