B.C.’s distracted driving penalty jumps to $543 June 1

$888 for a second offence and possible review by Superintendent of Motor Vehicles

New distracted driving scopes allow police to spot offenders 1.2 kilometres away.

The penalty for using a cell phone while driving just went up today.

Effective June 1, distracted driving offences will result in a $368 fine, and when the $175 penalty points premium by ICBC is added on for the four-penalty-point infraction, that means a minimum $543 fine for first-time offenders.

A second offence within a 12-month period drives the cost up to $888.

Just two weeks ago, B.C. Mounties unveiled a new weapon in their arsenal to catch offending drivers unaware: distracted driving scopes that allow them to see infractions up to 1.2 kilometres away.

The change in rules mean the province now regards distracted driving as a “high-risk driving offence”, on par with excessive speeding, driving without due care and attention, and driving without reasonable consideration.

Repeat offenders will have their driving record subject to automatic review by Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.

For new drivers, first-time offenders who are still driving under the graduated licensing program, face a possible prohibition of up to six months.

Judging from recent enforcement efforts, drivers don’t seem to be getting the message that using their cell phones is illegal.

Last month, officers from the BC RCMP provincial Integrated Road Safety Units doled out 264 tickets on Victoria Day weekend for distracted driving, driving without due care and attention and driving without reasonable consideration, up from 199 a year earlier.

In March, a road safety unit in Kelowna handed out 37 violation tickets for distracted driving in less than three hours.

 

Just Posted

Leaving dog in hot car can result in $75,000 fine, prohibition from owning animals, prison

B.C. SPCA received 800 calls last year about dogs left in hot cars

Radio Host Erin Davis pens Mourning Has Broken following death of her daughter

Book by North Saanich woman gives advice to others struggling with grief

Bed Races on Beacon champs ready to defend their title

Race takes place July 7 on Beacon Avenue, raising funds for the Peninsula Youth Clinic

Belgian man searches for family of fallen First World War soldier from Victoria

Mark Edward Berton attended Victoria High School and has his grave in Flanders Field

Saanich preschool celebrates 30 years with reunion event

Thousands invited RSVP for Carrot Seed Preschool 30-year celebration

WATCH: Thousands enjoy sunshine at second annual Village Block Party

Cook Street filled with local food, music and more

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Most Read