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

Trail liquor store held up Friday night

The perpetrator was brandishing a weapon that appeared to be a gun, according to the Trail RCMP

Trail Smoke Eaters lose in shootout to Coquitlam Express

The Trail Smoke Eaters battled the Express in a tight checking 2-1 shootout loss on Friday

Lest We Forget

Crowd fills downtown Trail for Remembrance Day ceremony

Remembering Trail veterans

The Trail Legion now has 14 veterans from the Second World War

3 games, 3 wins for the Vees

Penticton wins 4-3 over Smoke Eaters

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Surging Rangers beat visiting Canucks 2-1

Goalie Lundqvist ties Plante on all-time wins list

VIDEO: Newcomer kids see first Canadian snowfall

Children arrived in Canada with their mother and two siblings last week from Eritrea

Calgary 2026 leader expects close vote in Winter Games plebiscite

Residents to choose in a non-binding vote on Tuesday whether they want city to bid on 2026 Olympics

Feds dropped ball with WWI anniversary tributes: historians

Wrote one historian: ‘Other than the Vimy Ridge celebration … I think they have done a very bad job’

Sides ‘far apart’ in Canada Post talks despite mediation, says union

The lack of a breakthrough means rotating strikes will resume Tuesday

Feds’ appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. to be heard

Judge ruled in January that indefinite such confinement is unconstitutional, causes permanent harm

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Most Read