P.E.I. debuts tough distracted driving penalties - will B.C. follow suit?

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cell phone driving

Prince Edward Island now has the stiffest penalties for distracted driving in all of Canada. The maximum fine if caught is $1,200, up from $400. The minimum is now $500, up from $250.

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SEE ALSO: B.C. government wants public input on distracted driving laws

B.C. might end up following suit soon. A public consultation was recently held online asking people in the province if they think fines should be increased – a whopping 90 per cent said yes.

“P.E.I.’s fine increase is yet another confirmation that distracted driving is a serious issue across the country and internationally,” said Road Safety BC Superintendent Sam MacCleod in a statement.

“Distracted driving is dangerous and avoidable and British Columbians have stated that B.C.’s penalties are too low. RoadSafetyBC will be working to move forward with penalties that reflect the tough, fair, and effective response necessary to curtail distracted driving as the second highest contributing factor to fatalities on B.C. roads.”

More than 10,000 submissions were made by B.C. residents with suggestions on how to curtail distracted driving habits. People suggested that more than just fines need to be instituted in order to keep electronics out of the hands of drivers.

The provincial government even said they are considering impounding vehicles and licence suspensions.

“Distracted driving must be stopped so families don’t have to endure the preventable tragedies it can cause,” said Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton.

“We know our penalties are too low – thousands of British Columbians stated as much during our month-long consultation – and our government is going to fix this.”

The government will review all the public input and make changes to B.C.’s distracted driving laws by Spring of 2016. The current fine for using an electronic device while driving is $167.

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