New Brunswick — Building on the popularity of the New Brunswick government’s “tip line” for those who violate the COVID-19 restrictions, today the government announced its newest tip line to catch and punish distracted drivers.
On Tuesday, Premier Blaine Higgs revealed the province is receiving “hundreds of calls” to the COVID-19 “snitch line.” These calls from New Brunswickers reporting on others for alleged cases of COVID-19 rule-breaking can result in fines of over $10,000 at the officer’s discretion. This Friday, the Legislature will meet to hike those fines even higher, although details have yet to be revealed.
In addition, the Department of Public Safety is also announcing a new tip line so New Brunswickers can also report on each other for distracted driving infractions.
“We had no idea that our tip line would be so popular,” confessed Public Safety Minister Carl Urquhart. “But once we removed the stigma around ‘snitching’ or being a ‘busybody,'” he said making air quotes, “the thing really went viral…in a good way!
“Now that we’ve ripped off that band-aid, we are expanding our call centre operations to allow even more snitching…err, I mean informing, err no I mean citizen safety enforcement!”
The epidemic of driver distraction while operating a motor vehicle endangers countless lives on a daily basis. Even though driver distraction is a factor in 8 out of 10 car crashes each year, Public Safety says that the violations are so rampant that the police have no way to catch every person.
“Of course, we don’t want these calls tying up 911,” explained Urquhart. “So, by giving them a place to call so they can be the government’s eyes on the road, we can finally enforce strict compliance.
“Check out our website to get educated on what’s a distraction — it says, ‘Distracted driving is the diversion of attention from driving, as a result of the driver focusing on a non-driving object, activity, event, or person.’ It’s not just about texting!
“Yelling at your kids — that’s a distraction. Drinking a coffee — that’s a distraction! Lighting a smoke — distraction! Dog on your lap — distraction! Eating fries — distraction! Looking the scenery — distraction! Charging your phone — distraction!
“Actually, you can just make up your own mind about whether you think the person is distracted and just call it in. Call everything in! You be the police too!
“If people are strictly following the law, they have nothing to worry about,” he said.