BORDEN-CARLETON – Motorists are being advised to put cellphones and all other mobile devices away when travelling across the Confederation Bridge.
This undated photo provided by Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership shows the Confederation Bridge from Prince Edward Island, part of the Atlantic Canada’s Maritime Provinces. (AP Photo/Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership) NO SALES
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.”