Tougher penalties, higher fines implemented for distracted driving

Distracted Driving / Shutterstock

If you’re caught using electronic devices while driving, then your wallet will take more of a hit after tougher sanctions for distracted drivers were announced today.

Under the new regulations, which come into effect June 1, the minimum penalty for a first-time offence in B.C. will now be $543 – a $368 ticket, along with $175 worth of ICBC driver penalty points. The fine escalates to $888 for a second offence within a 12 month period.

Currently, the fine for distracted driving is $167, along with three demerit points on your license.

Distracted driving / Shutterstock

SEE ALSO: VPD issued 1,600 distracted driving tickets in March

Beyond the new financial consequences, distracted driving is also now considered a “high-risk” activity, placing it in the same bracket as excessive speeding and driving without due care and attention.

Chronic offenders may lose their licenses for up to a year.

“Distracted driving, like drinking and driving, is entirely avoidable, yet too often has devastating consequences,” says Minister of Public Safety Mike Morris. “By deploying tough new sanctions for distracted driving, we want to see our drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians get home to their families safely as we take another step towards reaching our goal of having the safest roads in North America by 2020.”

The move comes as part of a public consultation that saw 90% of respondents voting to increase distracted driving penalties.

It seems Vancouver might have a problem with distracted driving. During a distracted driving blitz in March, the Vancouver Police Department issued 1,600 tickets to drivers, and one woman in Richmond lost her license after receiving 12 separate offences.

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Lauren Sundstrom Lauren is a Staff Writer and Projects Assistant at Vancity Buzz. She is a graduate of BCIT's Broadcast and Online Journalism program. She loves reporting on breaking news and lifestyle content. If you feel like you have a story that needs to be told, fire her a tweet.

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