The newly-formed Society Against Distracted Driving (SADD) is comrpised of (L-R) Buce Smith, Brian Kostiuk (holding up a finger for every time his life has been threatened by a distracted driver) Karen Dietrich and Eileen Braaten. Paul Rodgers photo.

The newly-formed Society Against Distracted Driving (SADD) is comrpised of (L-R) Buce Smith, Brian Kostiuk (holding up a finger for every time his life has been threatened by a distracted driver) Karen Dietrich and Eileen Braaten. Paul Rodgers photo.

New organization takes on distracted driving

Still in their early stages, Society Against Distracted Driving seeks to raise awareness, education

Brian Kostiuk, a Cranbrook resident for over 50 years, said that in the last two to three years he’s had his life threatened by distracted drivers five times. Never one to shy away from a cause he felt passionately about, Kostiuk took it upon himself to do something to address and decrease distracted driving.

Initially, Kostiuk who was formerly on the Cranbrook in Motion Committee until it was disbanded, joined forces with Bruce Smith and Karen Dietrich and made up some bumper stickers to spread their message, but found that they weren’t overly effective, as displaying them is a personal choice for people.

So, as distracted driving accidents continue to frequently occur, the three of them, alongside Eileen Braaten who herself has been rear-ended twice in the last year and a half, formed a non-profit society, with Braaten and Dietrich as director and executive director, respectively, Smith as Vice President and Kostiuk as president. Now the Society Against Distracted Driving (SADD) has been incorporated for about three months.

“The four of us are pretty likeminded in this,” said Smith. “And the problem with distracted driving is, nobody’s paying attention to it. They’re all giving it lip service and I’m talking everybody — the government, whoever.”

Smith knows the dangers of distracted driving first hand from his professional work, both working in the automotive industry as dealer principal at Alpine Toyota and as an auxiliary RCMP constable.

“When I’m working on patrol, I see it all the time and when I’m out driving personally, I pull up to a light and there’s a guy on his phone,” Smith said.

“Now if there’s someone coming behind them or moving through an intersection they can’t possibly know what’s going on. And we’ve seen that personally and then again with the police work you see it all the time. You go to a motor vehicle accident, it’s a direct result of distracted driving.”

He said that their hope is to bring more awareness to the dangers and repercussions of distracted driving — move the conversation up to the forefront, educate the public and get it to the point where it is on the same level as drunk driving.

“Accident occurrences are as high from distracted as they were from impaired driving and when you brought impaired driving out to the forefront, things started to change,” Smith said. “We hope to do the same with distracted driving.”

The group members agreed that one of the big hinderances in their pursuit comes down to a lack of readily available statistics for them to look at. They have been able to get some from ICBC, and these are disconcerting to say the least.

“Did you know?” the SADD business card reads, “More than 25 per cent of all crash fatalities in BC are due to distracted driving. That is 78 deaths a year that are preventable.” That number is actually higher than the total number of fatalities in the province caused by impaired driving. Deaths due to drunk driving have decreased substantially over the years, due in part to the educational efforts of groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

“Penalties and education are the two ways you can adjust behaviour,” said Smith. Their hope is to spread education, and penalties are indeed on the rise.

It was announced last month that the Province of BC will be implementing stricter distracted driving penalties as accidents surged. Now a driver with two distracted driving tickets in a three-year period will see their total financial penalties rise to as much as $2,000. That is an increase of over $740 over existing penalties, and is in addition to their regular insurance premium.

“That’s a good thing,” said Smith, “that tells you that someone in the government is actually listening.”

After attaining public and commercial support, they can begin developing a curriculum and hope to start working in schools, similar to the RCMP P.A.R.T.Y. program.

So far the campaign has been well received. “It’s so easy to talk to people about it, complete strangers in the mall or something,” said Kostiuk. “Ask them, what do you think about distracted driving? ‘ Yeah that’s just terrible.’”

For more information and to support SADD you can visit www.saddbc.ca and follow them on Facebook @saddbc. You can purchase corporate membership for $175 or make a donation and can put your company’s logo onto their website.

Just Posted

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison appointed to parliamentary national security committee

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian one of five candidates appointed to national security committee

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read