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Life-changing five seconds

A lot can happen in five seconds.

In five seconds the average person can tie a pair of shoes. In five seconds the average person can walk seven metres, or speed nearly 150 metres down a highway.

And if you, like so many others today, decide to quickly check your phone while you’re speeding down that highway, that will be 150 metres you don’t see anything of.

According to the BC Coalition to End Distracted Driving, the average person takes their eyes off the road for a full five seconds when they’re behind the wheel and they check their phone.

Considering an accident can happen in mere milliseconds, that’s a dangerously long time not to be paying attention. That danger is not merely hypothetical.

From 2010 to 2014, about 81 people lost their lives each year because of distracted driving, meaning it’s now more deadly to text and drive than it is to drink and drive.

Michael Yawney, Q.C., is the senior partner at the Vernon law firm Nixon Wenger. Part of his job is dealing with injury claims, and he says he’s now coming face-to-face with injuries resulting from distracted driving all the time.

“We now see it all too often in the work we do,” he says.

“Everybody does it, it seems. I’ve even caught myself doing it. I had to take a moment and say to myself, ‘what the heck are you doing?’ But there isn’t really a moral stigma attached to texting and driving in our society, and it’s becoming rampant because of that.”

Because of the pervasive nature of the problem, Yawney and other members of the Trial Lawyers Association of BC are in the midst of a campaign to promote more awareness around distracted driving and its consequences.

Yawney says that, while distracted driving is responsible for countless serious crashes and devastating injuries every year, it is also driving up everybody’s insurance rates through the everyday fender benders caused when people think it’s okay to check their phones in traffic.

“When society finally decided it was not OK to drink and drive, and there was a significant social stigma and harsher penalties attached to it, drunk driving rates and fatalities went way down. We want the same thing for distracted driving,” he says.

Yawney encourages everyone who drives to think about how often they see others on the road peeking at their phones, and how often they do it themselves.

He asks parents to talk to their kids, and make sure they take responsibility for what they do with their phones when they’re behind the wheel.

He suggests anyone who needs more motivation visit https://distracteddrivingkills.ca, and listen to just a few of the stories about the impact distracted driving can have on our loved ones’ lives.

It’s going to take some effort to end this “epidemic,” Yawney says, and we’re all going to need to do our part to make that happen.



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Falcons to host charity game

The Kelowna Falcons want to raise $50,000 in one night for charity and you can help.

On Wednesday June 28, 2017 the Falcons will host the sixth annual BC Fire Fighters Burn Fund charity game with all game ticket sales being donated.

“It’s a lofty goal,” says Falcons General Manager Mark Nonis. “That said; this is always one of our biggest nights of the year at the ballpark and the dollar amount each year continues to climb thanks to our amazing fans and our corporate partners.  Everyday these fire fighters put their lives on the line to keep the rest of us safe.  When something goes wrong the Burn Fund is there, so this is one way we know how to give back to them.”

Once again the game itself is just part of this massive event which culminates with an exciting fireworks display in centre field.  During the game fans of all ages can enjoy the face painting, bouncy castles and food.  Then following the game, fans will be entertained with a live concert just prior to the fireworks show.

If that wasn’t enough a mystery guest celebrity has been scheduled to throw out the ceremonial opening pitch.

Tickets are just $10.00 and can be purchased online or at Kelowna’s Main Fire Hall at 2255 Enterprise Way during regular business hours.

In the previous five years this Falcons charity game has raised over $150,000 for the BC Burn Fund and is hoping to add to that total on June 28th when they host the Cowlitz Black Bears.

For more information on the game, the event or to donate call the Falcons headquarters at 250-763-4100.



Lions support local kids

On Wednesday, June 14, the Kelowna-Rutland Lions Club members visited the Kelowna Family YMCA with a big cheque that will help a lot more local children and youth in need.
 
The Lions Clubs International and YMCA’s share a core belief – to serve their community. One of the Lions key missions is to support children through scholarships, recreation and mentoring.
 
The $1,000 gift to the YMCA will make it possible for more underprivileged children, youth and families from our community to access Y child care and other programs that will support their health, development and positively impact their lives. 



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An invaluable donation

Mandeep Randhawa, who recently completed Okanagan College’s Heavy Mechanical Trades Foundation program, received an invaluable gift to launch his mechanics career: Ricardo Pacheco, joined by his wife Violeta Pacheco, donated his entire toolbox from his time as a heavy duty technician and owner of his own trucking company.
 
“It is so meaningful to receive this toolbox,” says Randhawa, who moved to the Okanagan from India two years ago. “These tools will give me a head start on my career. It’s a dream come true.”



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