B.C. takes hard line with bigger fines for distracted driving

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Drivers who use cellphones will soon face tougher penalties in British Columbia after the government announced Monday those caught breaking the rule will face escalating fines and the possibility of a driving prohibition for repeat offenders, beginning June 1.

The current penalty of $167 for distracted driving will increase to $543 for a first offence ($368 base fine, plus $175 in penalty point premium), $888 for a second offence within a year and $1,600 for a third offence. Drivers caught using cellphones will also see demerit points on their licence increase from three to four points.

As well, the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles will automatically review a driver’s licence after two tickets and, at his discretion, can impose a driving prohibition of three to 12 months.

“These tough new sanctions reflect what our public consultation process indicated — 90 per cent wanted higher fines. It targets distracted drivers where it hurts through their wallets,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris.

He added every year more than 60 drivers are killed by distracted drivers on B.C. roads and about 330 are seriously injured. He added if those statistics don’t come down dramatically after a few years the government would be willing to revisit the sanctions to ensure they are tough enough.

“We want to make distracted driving a thing of the past and we want to change the way people think about distracted driving,” he said. “One death on B.C. roads is too many.”

See full article at the link below:
Vancouver Sun – BC takes hard line with bigger fines for distracted driving (PDF)

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