Increasing accidents on bridge leads to cellphone crackdown

Mike Carson
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Confederation Bridge

BORDEN-CARLETON – Motorists are being advised to put cellphones and all other mobile devices away when travelling across the Confederation Bridge.

Strait Crossing Bridge Ltd. general manager, Michel LeChasseur, said RCMP will be on the lookout for drivers violating the law.

The move comes after a bridge sweeper truck was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer truck in January.

At that time LeChasseur said there hadn’t been a lot of accidents since the bridge opened in 1997.

“But what is bothersome for me is in the last year and a half, there have been five, which is quite a lot, and all five were of similar nature," he said at the time. "It really bothers me because you wonder if you're focused on your driving, you would have seen that truck. There's some kind of distraction somewhere and I don't have the solution today but it is an issue."

Last week, LeChasseur said traffic monitoring has been stepped up to improve safety on the bridge.

“After the big accident with the sweeper truck…we consulted with the RCMP,” he said. “Today, cellphones are big. Everybody’s got one, and not only are people on the phone but they’re actually texting while they’re driving. The Insurance Bureau says that cellphones and mobile devices are the biggest culprits now in highway deaths, surpassing drink and driving. From that perspective, you can’t afford a mistake on the bridge.”

LeChasseur said drivers have to stay focused because if an accident occurs, the vehicles have no place to go.

“We’ve taken steps, in participation with the RCMP, to monitor what goes on the bridge more closely in regards to cellphones,” he said. “They have been very diligent in issuing traffic tickets at the bridge. Right past the toll plaza now we have a big sign saying tolerance zero on mobile devices and we tell you if you get caught, it’s going to cost you $325. That’s the RCMP traffic ticket cost. Hopefully people will think twice.”

LeChasseur said the problem is widespread.

“You will hear the transport minister issue the same message,” he said. “This problem is everywhere. At the bridge you’re not going to go in the ditch; it might very well be your last phone call. You don’t want that and we don’t want that.”

mcarson@journalpioneer.com

Organizations: RCMP, Crossing Bridge

Geographic location: BORDEN-CARLETON

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Recent comments

  • tired of it
    May 06, 2014 - 15:18

    I have nothing for or against cell phones just the users it appears far to many don't appear to have any respect what so ever for the law they just text and talk away, driving anywhere not just the Bridge! There should be a crack down on all of them not just the Bridge!The police should be cracking down hard on them hit them where it hurts the most.their pockets,reasoning with them doesn't do anything,The reasonable people already pull of the road and talk or text,they i really commend! The others require a text cell phone addictions centre ,the things appear to be glued to their hips and they could care less about the law or the safety of others or themselves really sad situation when you put a text or phone call over your life and others,many before them were the same and when they found out they were not invincible it was way to late!I cant see an insurance company now covering them if they know what they were doing,they are not that easy to get money from.

  • Captain Canuck
    May 06, 2014 - 14:09

    Still insist on callin' 'em accidents, huh?

  • Katherine
    May 06, 2014 - 07:50

    Cell phone use while driving is now responsible for more highway deaths than drinking and driving, so the penalty should be the same. One is just as dangerous as the other, both caused by a careless and arrogant person feeling invincible, and a fine simply isn't enough of a deterrent for these selfish individuals. Unfortunately it seems they get the message only after a collision or very close call.

  • Stan Hope
    May 05, 2014 - 17:59

    The cell phone /texting ban is a joke & until law enforcement seriously cracks down on offenders & starts handing out increased fines & loss of points drivers are going to continue to thumb their noses & laugh in the face of the law & fellow drivers.I see it everyday,multiple times a day.

  • Lack of Guts
    May 05, 2014 - 17:51

    If government had any guts they would make the penalty for talking or texting while driving the same as the penalty for DUI. They don't have the guts because they don't want to offend the "younger" crowd.

  • country boy
    May 05, 2014 - 15:39

    Insurance companies tell your clients if they are involved in an accident while on a cell phone, their car damage will be their responsibility also any injuries sustained by them will not be covered. That will get peoples attention. Just look around and see how many people behind the wheel are texting. Phone records will show if they are using cell phones at the time of the accident.

  • Tired of cellphones
    May 05, 2014 - 15:04

    The only solution I can see working is to have the phone's software completely disabled when the phone moving at a velocity of more than 20 km/h. The only exception to this would be if a 911 call is needed. And I don't care if you're on a bus, or a subway. The only way to stop these morons is to completely take away the ability to use their phones. People don't need their faces in these phones all day.

  • Joe Smith
    May 05, 2014 - 14:17

    It's about time these distracted drivers got a liscense suspension and a jail term to go along with a much heftier fine. They are every bit as deadly as impaired drivers but we aren't treating them as if they are. That needs to change.