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New Year's cellphone ban looms for drivers

All British Columbians are being forced to adopt the same New Year’sresolution come Jan. 1 that, if broken, could cost chatty drivers $167and three demerit points.

All British Columbians are being forced to adopt the same New Year’s resolution come Jan. 1 that, if broken, could cost chatty drivers $167 and three demerit points.

On New Year’s Day, police officers will start pulling drivers over for texting or talking on their cellphones, Solicitor General Kash Heed said yesterday at the launch of a poster campaign reminding motorists of the upcoming law.

“Obeying this law is more than about not getting caught,” Heed said. “It’s about (adopting) new driving habits in British Columbia.”

A 30-minute survey conducted by ICBC found 116 motorists texting or talking while driving at Denman and Georgia streets.

Under the new law, drivers will be allowed to use only hands-free cellphones. For new drivers, all cellphones and electronic devices — including hands-free technology — are banned.

“There are many things that distract you, but this is a start,” Heed said, as to why items like iPods are still OK. “We can’t restrict everything that’s going on in the vehicle, but it’s incumbent upon us to make this first step.”

Vancouver police Const. Jim Chu said for the first month, police will be pulling people over and giving them warnings.

“Whenever rules change, there is a period of adjustment,” he said, adding that starting Feb. 1, the law will be strictly enforced.

 
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