Public Safety Minister Mike Morris uses a driving simulator to show the effect of texting and driving.

Distracted driving ticket will soon cost $543 and up

Cost for first texting and driving offence $543, up to $888 for a second within one year and licence may be suspended

A first offence for checking your phone while driving will cost B.C. drivers $543 when new penalties take effect June 1.

The fine for distracted driving goes up from $167 to $368, and drivers will also be assessed four penalty points, triggering another $175 charge. The combination results in a total penalty of $888 for a second offence within a year of the first.

Public Safety Minister Mike Morris said the new fines put B.C. near the top of distracted driving fines for Canadian provinces, and two tickets in a year will also trigger an automatic review by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles that could result in licence suspension.

Public consultation over the past year has found support for a tougher approach.

“A lot of the input that we had indicated even higher penalties than that,” Morris said.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone said the public awareness campaigns have not convinced enough people of the dangers of trying to use mobile phones or other devices without hands-free services.

“Imagine trying to drive the length of a football field while you’re blindfolded,” Stone said.

Central Saanich Police Chief Les Sylven, president of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police, reminded drivers that being at a stop light or stuck in a traffic jam does not mean the distracted driving penalties don’t apply.

NDP public safety critic Mike Farnworth said the government didn’t need to take a year to increase one of the lowest distracted driving penalty systems in the country, and giving the superintendent discretion over multiple repeat offenders doesn’t send a clear enough message.

“Frankly, I think that if you get more than three in the course of the year, there should be no ‘may’ about it, you will lose your licence,” Farnworth said.

Just Posted

Penticton Vees clinch fifth straight win

The Vees bested the Prince George Spruce Kings in a shootout on Jan. 18

Crosswalk coming to intersection near Penticton events centre

After years of plans a crosswalk is expected to be built on Alberni Street on Highway 97 this year

SOWINS dinner and concert fundraiser Jan. 25 at the Nest & Nectar

Yanti & Company will be performing a partially by-request concert

South Okanagan dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Celebrate women in business with the 26th Annual Mainly for Women Trade Show

Presented by Women of Oliver for Women (W.O.W.) on Feb. 16

Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

Osoyoos has opened applications for 2019 Community Service Grants

The deadline for applications is 12 p.m. on Feb. 22

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

B.C. woman planned to donate a kidney to her husband, then found out she has cancer

Richard Stuart needs a kidney, his wife Tracy has been diagnosed with cancer

Most Read