B.C. to hike distracted driving penalties by $740

Two tickets over three years could net fines of up to $2,000

Getting caught checking your phone behind the wheel in B.C. is about to get a lot more expensive

Attorney General David Eby announced Monday that the province will designate distracted driving “high-risk,” meaning that two distracted driving tickets over three years could net drivers a $2,000 penalty in total.

READ: Senior drives into ditch while trying to use phone app

That’s an increase of $740 over the current penalty ($370 per ticket), and will sit on top of regular ICBC insurance premiums.

Currently, each distracted driving offence nets a fine of $368 and four penalty points. Those four penalty points add up to an additional fine of $175 under the penalty point system for a total of $543 per distracted driving offence.

However, those with multiple distracted driving tickets at the end of each year will pay more. While four penalty points add up to $175 in extra fees, eight points, or two distracted driving tickets, add up to $520.

“Distracted driving continues to put people in danger and significant pressure on insurance rates for all drivers,” said Eby.

“Once implemented, this change will treat distracted driving as the serious high-risk behaviour that it is; one that is on par with impaired driving and excessive speeding.”

Speaking with reporters in Victoria on Tuesday, Eby said he wasn’t ruling out further increases if today’s announcement failed to cut down on distracted driving offences.

The stiffer fines will result in $3-5 million in additional premiums collected by the province.

Higher penalties for distracted driving were recommended in an Ernst & Young report released earlier this year that looked at ICBC’s management and finances, and found that if nothing changed soon, rates rates could jump by as much as 30 per cent by 2019.

READ: ICBC rates could go up 30 per cent by 2019: report

Distracted driving is a factor in one-quarter of all car crash deaths in B.C., and kills an average of 78 people each year. About 12,000 drivers have more than one distracted driving ticket over a three-year period.

These latest penalties are separate from standard Autoplan insurance, so drivers will get a bill even if they don’t own a vehicle or have one insured.

They take effect March 1, 2018.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Penticton bellydancer makes impression on dance show judges

Celine Blais won’t know until the end of March if she made it on dance show, but signs look good

OneWorld: a multicultural celebration of diversity

Fifth annual event showcasing the cultural diversity of the South Okanagan

NHL official from Penticton celebrates milestone

Shane Heyer will officiate his 2,000th NHL game on Feb. 25

A taste of the Olympics

Nearly 300 students at Uplands Elementary School took part in their own Olympics

Okanagan Falls pot shop proposal causes concern

Concerns rising in rural areas about marijuana stores

VIDEO: What you need to know today at the B.C. Games

B.C. Winter Games athletes work for gold in the last full day of competition

Snowboarders sliding into fresh territory at B.C. Games

Athletes hit the slopes for first appearance as an event at the B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops

Looking back at the 1979 B.C. Games: Good memories, even better jackets

39 years later, Kamloops is hosting the Winter Games again, with some volunteers returning

OLYMPICS 101: Oldest and youngest Canadians to reach the podium

This year, Canada sent its most athletes in Winter Games history, here’s a look at record breakers

BCHL Today: Cowichan Caps play spoiler and Nanaimo wins 10th straight game

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Federal budget to unveil incentive for 5-week second parent leave: official

Goal behind the measure is to give parents more incentive to share child-rearing responsibilities

Notley says Alberta watching B.C. court bid closely, will get no free ride on it

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley ended the three-week ban on B.C. wine, calming the trade war

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most Read