Texting is the new drunk driving

Attorney General considering raising fines in B.C., now at $167, because more people dying from distracted driving than impaired driving

Penalty for texting and driving includes demerit points and $167 fine

VICTORIA – More people are dying from distracted driving than drinking and driving, and that has caused Attorney General Suzanne Anton to reconsider whether B.C.’s penalties for using smart phones behind the wheel are tough enough.

Anton said the latest statistics from 2012 show 81 deaths from distracted driving in the year, compared to 55 related to impaired driving.

“People seem to know that they must not drink and drive, but distracted driving, people don’t seem to have the same level of awareness,” Anton said Wednesday.

B.C.’s Motor Vehicle Act currently sets a $167 fine for talking on a hand-held mobile phone, and $167 plus three demerit points for emailing or texting while driving. Ontario recently raised its fine from $155 to $280, with a maximum of $500 for those who contest the fine and are convicted.

A few weeks ago Anton wasn’t convinced higher penalties would help change driver behaviour, but she said Wednesday she was disturbed to discover that B.C. has more distracted driving deaths than Ontario, which has three times the population.

“Should there be points attached to holding the handheld device and talking? Probably,” Anton said. “Should the fines be higher? Probably, so I’m having a look at both of those.”

Another statistic that caught Anton’s attention was the 51,000 distracted driving tickets handed out in B.C. in 2013. She said that’s a “huge number” that suggests the message of distracted driving is not getting through, and a reminder that seatbelt use and impaired driving also took time to impress on the public.

The Superintendent of Motor Vehicles is analyzing B.C. driving habits and will report to Anton, who is considering changing penalties later this year.

 

Just Posted

Cache Creek landfill extension set for September completion

Project has been delayed due to wildfires and floods over past two years

Drag races set to return for Graffiti Days weekend

Annual event features old favourites like the smoke show, and new events like a drive-in movie

Bonaparte River fishway, Thompson steelhead among projects awarded grant funding

More than $9 million will help 170 fish and wildlife projects around B.C.

Wellness clinics provide free, drop-in health information

New service in Clinton helps patients manage their health care and stay out of hospital

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana crops ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

Most Read