New distracted driving penalties effective tomorrow in B.C. mean higher fines, more penalty points and possible driving prohibitions for repeat offenders.
As of June 1, 2016, each distracted driving offence is calculated using the fine of $368, (up from $167) combined with escalating Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) driver penalty point premiums and possible driving prohibitions.
- The base fine has increased to $368.
- The number of penalty points per infraction is now four (up from three).
- ICBC driver penalty point premiums start at $175 for the first four penalty points and escalate to a minimum $520 for a second offence within the same 12-month period.
- First-time offenders face a minimum $543 in financial penalties.
- Repeat offenders, upon a second offence within 12 months will pay the $368 fine plus $520 for a total of $888 in financial penalties, which escalate further for any additional offence.
Distracted driving is now considered a high-risk driving offence, which makes it equivalent to excessive speeding, driving without due care and attention, and driving without reasonable consideration. Repeat offenders will have their driving record subject to automatic review, which could result in a three-to-12 month driving prohibition.
Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) drivers face intervention after a first distracted driving offence and a possible prohibition of up to six months. The superintendent of motor vehicles also has discretion to prohibit drivers based on referrals from either ICBC or police.
- On the Victoria Day weekend (May 2016), officers from BC RCMP provincial Integrated Road Safety Units handed out 264 tickets to distracted drivers for, driving without due care and attention or driving without reasonable consideration. That number is up from the same weekend in 2015 when 199 tickets were issued. http://ow.ly/9XKq300D3LB
- During ICBC’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month (March 2016) a police road safety unit in Kelowna handed out 37 violation tickets for distracted driving and inattention in less than three hours.
- In 2014, distracted driving and inattention was a contributing factor in killing 66 people and seriously injuring 630 more on B.C. roads.
- Serious injury can mean loss of a limb, brain damage, coma and other life-altering medical conditions.
- The new penalties were developed in consultation with British Columbians. 90% of respondents indicated they support stronger financial penalties for distracted driving.
- The new financial penalties for distracted driving are calculated using the base fine of $368 combined with escalating ICBC Driver Penalty Point premiums which start at $175 for the first offence and climb for any additional offence within a 12-month period.