New distracted driving penalties in affect today

Posted in Williams Lake News

Drivers advised to put their hand-held electronic devices away, as new penalties come in to play today.

Drivers are advised to put their hand-held electronic devices away, as the Province's new distracted driving penalties hit British Columbia roads and highways today. Now, anyone caught talking on a hand-held electronic device while driving is subject to three penalty points in addition to a $167 fine. This is the same penalty that was already in place for drivers caught texting or emailing.

The new penalty for using a hand-held electronic device covers infractions such as talking on, holding or dialing a cellular phone, operating a hand-held audio player (such as an iPod or mp3 player), or programming a GPS. Penalty points remain on a person's driving record for five years and can result in further sanctions, including prohibitions from driving. Of note, BC's distracted driving legislation also prohibits drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program from using any hands-free device.

RCMP Sergeant Hacker, in charge of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Traffic Services, says his department will not be stepping up enforcement any more than we they been. "However, this issue continues to be an emerging causative factor in collisions," he explains.  "Consequently, it remains a focal point for enforcement action."

The fall season is also a time to be aware that distraction is a top contributing factor for drivers in vehicle collisions that involve pedestrians. This is especially important to keep in mind as it becomes more difficult to see pedestrians in dark and poor weather conditions.

"The number of collisions involving the plethora of such devices may require a change in legislation to include more electronic devices and a wider definition of what is considered to be distracted," says Hacker. "Currently the definition is limited to a few devices and or activities."

Distracted driving is the second leading contributing factor of vehicle fatalities in B.C. The Province continues to look at increased fines for distracted driving as part of an overall fine structure review and work is underway to determine what an appropriate amount would be.

 

  • Drivers that accrue more than three points must pay an ICBC driver penalty point premium that starts at $175 and will escalate if they receive more points.
  • A driver who receives two distracted driving tickets in a year would pay $634, which is the cost of two fines and a $300 penalty for six points.
  • As points build on a person's driving record, the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles may also identify a driver as high-risk and monitor or prohibit them under the Driver Improvement Program.
  • High-risk drivers can receive administrative interventions ranging from warning letters, which say their driving record is being monitored, to prohibitions from driving.

 

Quick Facts:

  • Distracted driving is the second leading cause of vehicle fatalities in B.C. On average from 2009 to 2013, 88 people were killed due to inattention or distraction while driving each year, compared with 105 for speeding and 86 for driving affected by alcohol or drugs.
  • The provincial government, ICBC and police have partnered to remind British Columbians to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road. The recently launched distracted driving awareness campaign included television, radio and theatre ads, and encourages drivers to put their electronic devices away especially as winter weather approaches and driving conditions require extra care and attention.
  • In 2013, police issued 51,200 violation tickets to drivers who were using an electronic device.
  • Under the definition of using an electronic device, there is a complete ban on a driver:
    • Holding, operating, communicating or watching the screen of a hand-held electronic communication device.
    • Sending or receiving text messages or email on any type of electronic device.
    • Holding, operating, communicating or watching the screen of a hand-held electronic computing device, one of the purposes of which is to process or compute data.
  • As well, BC's distracted driving legislation prohibits drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) from using hands-free devices.
  • Police can also issue tickets for driving without due care and attention, or driving without consideration, to drivers who are noticeably distracted or inattentive while operating a motor vehicle and making the road unsafe for other drivers, pedestrians, or cyclists.
  • Research shows five seconds of texting while driving at highway speeds is like driving blindfolded for almost the length of an entire football field.
  • Some drivers still do not understand that using an electronic device, such as talking on a cell phone or texting, while stopped at a red light is an offense under the MVA.
  • To avoid the temptation of using a cellphone, drivers can:
  • Make calls and send emails or texts before starting a vehicle.
  • Safely pull over and turn off the vehicle before using a personal electronic device.
  • During the duration of a trip, turn cellphones off or put them somewhere out of reach.
    • Let all calls go to voicemail.
    • Ask a passenger to make or receive calls or text messages

 

 

Williams Lake RCMP continue to battle auto theft

Posted in Williams Lake News

RCMP in Williams Lake continue to battle auto theft. Just after 1:00am on October 18, Williams Lake RCMP responded to a complaint from a witness at Boston Pizza on Donald Road who stated that she had just observed someone breaking into a car. Officers searched the area for a suspect described as a native male, 5'9", wearing a white ball cap, black hoodie, and black pants.

The owner of the vehicle was located and an examination of the vehicle revealed that the ignition had been tampered with. Stolen out of the vehicle was a Samsung phone with a cracked screen, an FM transmitter, a power cable, and a pair of prescription Ray Ban sunglasses.

Chess tournament organizers made all the right moves

Posted in Williams Lake Events

Organizers report the Williams Lake LakeCity Open chess tournament that took place this past weekend was a success.

The playing room was at full capacity with 28 registered players, plus four unofficial games as parents participated in a mini tournament.

Organizer Scott Richardson has high praise for tournament supporters and sponsors, "We had fantastic support from Kathleen at SelfDesign, Mark at Red Shreds, Scott at Barking Spider, Brad at Safeway, Crystal at the Gecko Tree, Angela at the Open Book and the librarians at the Williams Lake library," he said. "Thanks too, to the people who postered the land."

To view pictures and see the results of the event you can visit lakecitychess.homestead.com.

"Here's to more chess in the Cariboo," smiles Scott.

Ingrid Mapson benefit concert a great success

Posted in Williams Lake Events

Cariboo songstress Ingrid Mapson connected with approximately 80 people who attended the Chiwid Transition House Benefit Concert at St. Peter's Anglican Church in Williams Lake on Sunday.

Ingrid related her performance of 'Somewhere' by Bernstein from West Side Story, which tells about a place where peace and quiet is attainable, to helping abused women and children finding a safe place. "She touched the concert go-ers on a personal level and even brought some to tears," explains one of the event organizer's and St. Peter's own pianist Sherry Day Foster.

Ingrid Mapson's fundraiser concert in Williams Lake on Ocotber 19, 2014 hit a high note with concert-goers.

 

TRU Williams Lake to host Tsilhqot'in Title decision panel

Posted in Williams Lake Events

On Monday, November 10, 2014, Thompson Rivers University – Williams Lake Campus will host a discussion panel regarding the recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling of the Tsilhqot'in Nation land title (Tsilhqot'in Nation v. British Columbia, 2014 SCC 44).

The panel is jointly organized by the Tsilhqot'in National Government (TNG) and the TRU Law School in Kamloops. The purpose of the panel is to provide information to Cariboo-Chilcotin residents regarding the history and implications of the Tsilhqot'in Land Title Decision.

Dr. Ray Sanders, Executive Director of the Williams Lake Campus, says this is an excellent opportunity for both the community and the university, "TRU WL is happy to bring an amazing group of people together who are all volunteering their time and energy to provide expertise on one of the most important Supreme Court of Canada decisions in recent history," he says. "We need public forums to better understand the implications of the decision."

First election forums have been scheduled

Posted in Cariboo Election News 2014

The Williams Lake & District Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors will be hosting two municipal candidate forums in Williams Lake for the 2014 municipal election in partnership with the Social Planning Committee and the Northern Real Estate Board.

One forum will be for City Council candidates and the other will be for Mayoral candidates.

Historically the Chamber has organized and hosted All Candidates Forums for numerous years. The forums provide an opportunity for candidates to be seen and heard at a public venue. They also give the public an opportunity to meet the candidates and hear their plans for the future of Williams Lake.

The first forum for all City Councillor candidates will be Monday, October 27 at the Gibraltar Room-Cariboo Memorial Complex starting at 6:00pm.

You know the elections are official when election signs begin popping up all over the place

(Photo: You know the elections are official when election signs begin popping up all over the place.)

 

Human trafficking workshop presented by experts

Posted in Williams Lake Events

Williams Lake Community Policing and the Women's Contact Society have announced that they will be hosting another Human Trafficking workshop on October 23rd and 24th in the City of Williams Lake council chambers.

Guest presenters, Larissa Maxwell of Deborah's Gate and Detective James Fisher from the Vancouver Police Department will be the keynote speakers. Eva Navrot, project manager with the Women's Contact Society will be giving a community update on actives that have been happening in our community.

Deborah's Gate is the only high security safe house and rehabilitative program in Canada for victims of human trafficking age 18 and up. Since its inception in 2009, Deborah's Gate has provided emergent support and long term residential programming for victims of labour and sex trafficking, and is nationally recognized as a leader in human trafficking rehabilitation and community reintegration. Working in partnership with government, social services, and especially law enforcement, Deborah's Gate assists high profile victims across Canada access trauma informed, emergent, and individualized, long term support and care.

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Williams Inn in state of disrepair

Posted in Williams Lake News

Two of three dilapidated buildings on the Williams Inn/Howard Johnson property at 55 South 6th Avenue have been condemned, according to sources at the City of Williams Lake.

"The buildings have been vacant for some time and almost all of them, including the main building where the office is located, have reached a state of disrepair," says Ken MacInnis, Communications Coordinator at the City, adding that orders from the Fire Chief with respect to potential fire hazards are a separate process.

The boarded up section had unauthorized people residing in the rooms even though there was no water or power. Those people were removed and the buildings were boarded up to keep unauthorized people out, as it is a fire hazard. "It is up to the building owner to decide what is next," explains MacInnis.

101414 HoJo closedA

2014-15 Flu shot campaign underway

Posted in Williams Lake Human Interest

The flu is highly contagious and can cause severe complications for the very young, old and those with underlying health conditions. Getting ill with the flu can mean several missed days of school, work and other activities. Learn more about influenza.

It is important to get a flu shot yearly because flu viruses change from year to year. Each year the influenza (flu) vaccine is updated to include the current viruses that are circulating. This year's vaccine contains three different flu strains:

    • A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus
    • A/Texas/50/2012(H3N2)-like virus
    • B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus

 Click to learn more about the closest Flu clinic in the Cariboo

Prescribed burns to restore Cariboo-Chilcotin grassland

Posted in Williams Lake News

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations advises that a series of prescribed burns is planned in several areas west and south of Williams Lake until November 15, 2014, weather conditions permitting.

These controlled burns are managed under the Range Branch's Ecosystem Restoration Program and will be conducted with the assistance of the
Wildfire Management Branch and Cariboo Fire Centre personnel.

The following areas will be treated to help restore native grassland ecosystems:

  • Bald Mountain (south of Riske Creek): about 120 hectares
  • Deer Creek (Alexis Creek area): about 100 hectares
  • Crow's Bar (Fraser River area, south of Dog Creek): about 1,750 hectares

150 Mile House man identified as victim of vehicle incident on Horselfy Road

Posted in Williams Lake News

The Coroners Service has confirmed identity of driver who lost his life near Horsefly on October 11, 2014.

The BC Coroners Service says Howard Norman Rhodes, aged 58, of 150 Mile House was the driver and sole occupant of a pickup truck heading westbound on the Horsefly Road when, about 7:30 pm on October 10, 2014, when the vehicle left the road and ended up in a grove of trees.

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