by EVAN MATTHEWS
Distracted driving is a crime and a few major players are doing their best to provide free Wi-Fi along provincial highways to encourage using mobile devices at appropriate times.
The free Wi-Fi spots will be installed thanks to a partnership between the Province, Telus and ICBC, according to Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone.
“Our rest areas are critical to the tourism industry, as well as the commercial trucking sector by allowing drivers to rest and access washroom facilities,” says Stone.
The most notable rest area in the Robson Valley to see such upgrades will be the Mount Terry Fox Rest Area, along Highway 16, roughly 6 KM east of Tête Jaune Cache.
“This rest area, along with the other four locations we announced, demonstrates partnerships like this one with Telus and ICBC deliver valuable services to British Columbians,” he says.
The first five rest areas to have Wi-Fi installed, including Mount Terry Fox Rest Area, will be installed by spring of 2017, while the rest are to follow in coming years.
The expansion of public Wi-Fi at rest stops, according to the Province, illustrates technology and innovation support a wide range of industries throughout B.C., as helping businesses such as commercial trucking companies grow is an important part of the BCTECH Strategy, and a key component of the B.C. Jobs Plan to strengthen British Columbia’s diverse innovation economy, according to the Province.
“Earlier this month my ministry committed $9M in funding over three years… These improvements, along with the addition of Wi-Fi will be a key part of ensuring we deliver a competitive, world-class travel experience to visitors,” Stone says.
A total of 25 rest areas throughout the province will have Wi-Fi installed.
Mark Blucher, ICBC’s president and CEO, says he believes adding Wi-Fi to rest areas should encourage people to use mobile devices while stationary and safe, while reducing the number of distracted driving incidents.
“More than 800 crashes occur every day in B.C., many of these caused by distracted driving. We need help from all British Columbians to help keep roads safe,” says Blucher.
“By driving safely and following the rules of the road, you can help lower our claims costs and directly lower the rates you pay,” he says.