Penalty points added for distracted driving

Three points added to $167 fine for talking on handheld phone, watching video or programming GPS while driving

Justice Minister Suzanne Anton

Talking on your handheld phone or fiddling with a music player while driving will cost you three penalty points in addition to a $167 fine, effective Oct. 20.

Justice Minister Suzanne Anton announced the additional penalty points Wednesday, making it the same as the penalty for texting and driving. Penalty points are also added for infractions such as watching a video or programming a phone’s GPS system.

Anton said the B.C. government is also reviewing its fines and could increase them, but not to the $1,000 fine Ontario drivers face for a first offence of distracted driving.

“I think a $1,000 fine is rather high,” Anton said.

Penalty points remain on a driving record for five years, and result in a $175 increase in insurance as soon as they exceed three points. Fines and points for two distracted driving tickets in a year add up to at least $634. At nine points, the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles considers licence suspension.

Anton said there were 51,000 tickets issued last year for distracted driving of all kinds.

“Ticket volumes show us that more drivers are ticketed for talking on an electronic device than for texting and driving, and so that is where we decided to start with the new penalty points,” Anton said.

Distracted driving is the second biggest cause of fatal vehicle accidents, with an average 88 people killed per year from 2009 to 2013. That compares to 105 deaths attributed to speeding and 86 due to alcohol or drug impairment.

Police can also issue tickets for driving without due care and attention to any driver who is noticeably distracted or inattentive and increasing risk to others.

 

Just Posted

Cache Creek council votes to rejoin local transit system

Details need to be worked out, but hopes are that change can be expedited

Ashcroft residents get information at Community Forum

Water treatment plant, recycling, an Eco-Depot, the budget, and more among items addressed

Elizabeth May’s wedding will be a ‘low-carbon affair’ in Victoria on Earth Day

Green party leader’s wedding party to depart in a cavalcade of electric cars

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Man airlifted to hospital after apparent hunting incident in East Kootenay

The man was in stable condition when he was flown out of Fairmont Hot Springs to a Calgary hospital

Police probe eight fires set at B.C. elementary school

Nanaimo RCMP say fires appear to have been set intentionally

Most Read