St. Stephen – A month-long crack down by the RCMP to reduce the number of distracted drivers in St. Stephen seems to have worked.
Sgt. Peter Stubbs, the St. Stephen RCMP detachment commander, announced today that 32 motorists were issued tickets for distracted driving – using hand held cell phones – during the month long initiative by officers.
By comparison, only 31 distracted driving tickets were issued in St. Stephen during 2016. In 2016 in New Brunswick, there was a total of 911 distracted driving tickets issued, and a monthly average of 76 distracted driving tickets for the entire province the same year
Stubbs noted the majority of the tickets issued in St. Stephen were at the beginning of April, when the campaign began.
By the end of April, RCMP members were continuing the stepped-up enforcement, but observed a decrease in the number of distracted drivers, said Stubbs.
“We all know distracted driving causes serious injuries, or even deaths. We all know it’s illegal,” said Sgt. Stubbs. “We will continue to enforce the distracted driving law, with a zero-tolerance approach. So put down your phones while driving – it’s not worth the consequences.”
A ticket for distracted driving can result in a fine of $172.50, and three demerit points from a driver’s licence
Stubbs said studies indicate that a driver’s chance of being involved in a crash is 23 times greater while texting, and four times more likely when talking on a phone, whether using the hands free option or not. Research by the Insurance Bureau of Canada indicates that 80% of collisions occur three seconds after a driver has been distracted.
Town council, which requested the initiative, is pleased with the results of the distracted driving campaign.
“I think this is a great initiative because I think distracted driving is one of the main causes of accidents,” said Coun. Marg Harding, chair of the town’s police and fire committee.
Mayor Allan MacEachern had words of praise for Sgt. Stubbs.
“The RCMP presence in our community is certainly being felt. I’ve never seen so much activity. Sgt. Stubbs has taken his role, and presented it in a new angle. We appreciate it. Keep up the good work,” said the mayor.
Deputy Mayor Jason Carr said he hopes the RCMP will continue to make its presence known in St. Stephen, noting that presence “is definitely being felt across the community.”
“Under Peter’ Stubbs’ leadership, there has definitely been a change for the better for the RCMP in the area.”