"We're looking at every option to deter distracted driving including the potential use of new technologies," said Mark Blucher, President and CEO of ICBC. Distracted driving is a plague for insurance companies all over the world. According to statistics from the RCMP, drivers who use handheld devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to cause injury. Even though it is almost illegal everywhere, it has done very little to deter many drivers from doing so. According to a survey conducted for ICBC, almost all drivers believe that distracted driving has led to an increase in crashes but almost 40 percent of surveyees admit to using their device at least some of the time while driving or stopped at a red light. "We understand the temptations of glancing at a ringing phone or received text message while on the road, so we're exploring every option to prevent distracted driving. ICBC's rates are under considerable pressure from a significant increase in crashes and we're doing all we can to keep people safe and rates as low as possible."
Rising insurance rates due to increased frequency of accidents caused by distracted driving is not something that is exclusive to the province of BC and the province's monopoly auto insurer ICBC. Headlines in the automotive industry in United States and across the ocean in Europe, echo a similar tone - rising insurance rates which are becoming unaffordable due to increased accidents which are caused by distracted driving. "Keeping British Columbians safe on the road is our number one focus," Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation BC. To combat distracted driving, ICBC has posted a Request for Information (RFI) on BC Bid for market research and technology. ICBC alongside the provincial government has released a joint statement explaining their vision of exploring available technology to address the problem.
"Exploring new anti-distracted driving solutions in the marketplace aims to do just that, while staying current in today's digital world. But despite our best efforts it starts with drivers committing to driving distractions-free." Earlier this year, ICBC had launched a distracted driving campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. In support, enhanced police enforcement targeting distracted drivers was increased. Distracted driving contributes to more than one quarter of all car crash fatalities in BC, with an average of 78 people killed every year. "Car crashes remain the number one preventable cause of death for youth in BC," Aileen Shibata, ICBC Road Safety Program Manager. "Our road safety speakers share their personal, heartbreaking stories to get teens talking about the dangers of taking risks behind the wheel and help them make safer choices."