This past Sunday, a horse-drawn carriage driver was documented by the group Victoria Horse Alliance texting on their phone while giving a tour down Government St. This is not the first time carriage drivers have been documented caught distracted driving in Victoria by the group.
Jordan Reichert of the Victoria Horse Alliance is disappointed there is a double standard when it comes to the horse carriages that puts the safety of the public and horses at risk.
“Unfortunately, it is not illegal for carriage drivers to be on their cell phones while driving. Under the Motor Vehicle Act, horse-drawn vehicles do not have to follow the same rules that other vehicles on the road have to. Even if it isn’t illegal, it is still highly irresponsible.”
On the B.C. governments website on road safety rules they state the following:
“Research evidence has shown that approximately one-quarter of crashes can be attributed to driver distraction: attention being diverted from driving tasks. This can result in significant costs to society, such as: tragic loss of life, serious injuries, health expenses, property damage and insurance rates.”
Reichert says there is no good reason why these laws should not apply to horse-drawn vehicles the same as motor vehicles.
“You wouldn’t tolerate a taxi driver texting while driving if you were a passenger, so why should directing a vulnerable animal in traffic be any different?”
Victoria Horse Alliance has been working for the past several years to ban the horse carriages from Victoria, amid multiple cruelty complaints filed with the BC SPCA and bylaw infractions documented with the City of Victoria. You can learn more about their campaign here.