The provincial government jacked up fines for distracted driving today.
Public Safety Minister Mike Morris made the announcement in Victoria.
As of June 1st, the province will bump the baseline fine up from $167 to $368.
Additionally, there will be four penalty points attached to the ticket which will hit the driver’s wallet even harder.
“And that is going to kick in the ICBC penalty point program, which will add another $175 to that particular penalty. So all in all, for a first offence for distracted driving we are going to see that kick up to $543.” Morris said
He says the increased fines reflect public demand heard during a consultation phase that saw 90% of respondents ask for stiffer distracted driving penalties.
“I was a police officer for 32 years, and I’ve seen some pretty grisly reminders out there about why we need to be as serious as we are about this.” Morris added
A second offence will cost the a total of $888 in fines and will cause their driving record to be subject to an automatic review, which could result in a three to twelve month driving ban. Graduated Licensing Program (L or N) drivers face intervention after the first offence with a possible prohibition of up to six months.
“Imagine trying to drive the length of a football field in traffic while blindfolded” Transportation Minister Todd Stone said “That’s essentially what you are doing when you look away to compose and send even a short text at 50km/hr. Why would you put yourself and others on the road in such danger?”
BC’s Superintendent of Motor Vehicles Sam MacLeod says more than 42,000 distracted driving tickets were handed out between 2010 and 2014.