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

Woodwynn Farms to be shut down and sold

The rehabilitation program at Woodwynn Farms is being shut down. According to… Continue reading

Langford loses bid to host Amazon HQ2

Mayor hopes to attract more tech jobs to city

Whooping cough detected in Claremont student

15 Greater Victoria schools have been informed of a student with pertussis since September

VIDEO: Protesters chain doors shut at DFO office in Saanich

Fish farm protesters removed from Commerce Circle for a second time

Pedestrian in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after being struck in View Royal

Incident closed Island Highway for several hours Wednesday night

WATCH: Giant waves smash Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point

Folks made their way to Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Thursday, Jan.… Continue reading

Saanich signals support for in-fill developments in Gorge-Tillicum

The Gorge-Tillicum neighbourhood continues to experience infill. Council’s committee-of-the-whole signaled Saanich’s support… Continue reading

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

Jury convicts spear-wielding Duncan man in 2015 Ladysmith RV park murder

Trever George Meers used a handmade spear to stab Rayna Johnson at the Campers Corners RV Park

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Most Read