If you live in British Columbia, don’t try to sneak out a quick text while driving just because you don’t see any cops on the road. The RCMP, Canada’s version of the FBI, have started using DLSR cameras attached to massive scopes to spot distracted drivers from as far as 1.2km away.
We all instinctively know to hide our phones while driving when we see a police car, but that doesn’t make using them any less illegal. (And it’s incredibly dangerous too, by the way.) To catch drivers in the act, traffic services in British Columbia have been using spotting scopes — which feature a distinctive bend to make them more comfortable to use — for years now. Now the police are adding a 24.2-megapixel DSLR to the rig to capture photos of the illegal act.
RCMP isn’t saying where the spotting scopes are being set up for obvious reasons, but it has admitted they are primarily being used at intersections at which drivers are stopped at a red light or a stop sign — where it’s still illegal to use your phone. It’s also easier for officers to snap a sharp photo of the offence when a vehicle isn’t whizzing by.
Making the RCMP.’s newest weapon against distracted driving publicly known will hopefully serve as a deterrent to drivers. Additionally, starting on June 1, distracted driving fines in British Columbia will raise to $CA543 ($580) for the first offence, and $CA888 ($949) after that. Better to just let that last text go unanswered.