One of a series of B.C. government graphics aimed at educating drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.

Public demands higher distracted driving fines

Thousands offer advice on stronger penalties, but most are older people from the Lower Mainland

Halfway through a consultation on distracted driving policy, the vast majority of B.C. residents who have responded want fines increased.

Justice Minister Suzanne Anton says thousands of people have participated on the B.C. government’s consultation website, and more than 90 per cent want stronger action to stop people talking or texting on their phones while they’re behind the wheel. The issue now is how high the fines should go.

“British Columbians are also telling us they want to see tougher escalating penalties for repeat offenders, because right now some people see the $167 ticket as the cost of doing business,” Anton said Tuesday. “We need to stop that.”

B.C.’s fine is the second lowest in Canada, and a three-point insurance penalty was added last fall. Anton said she doesn’t intend to follow Ontario’s lead and put the fine up to $1,000 for repeat offenders, but an increase will be coming within a year.

Comments on the website continue to debate the merits of seizing cellphones from drivers, but Anton reiterated that option is not being considered.

Suspending licences or impounding vehicles of repeat offenders is on the table, however. Saskatchewan impounds the vehicle for a week if the driver gets two distracted driving tickets less than a year apart.

The consultation continues until July 16. Participants are asked to reply to nine questions.

The crowd-sourcing exercise has its weaknesses. Only five per cent of respondents have come from the B.C. Interior, and Anton said younger people are also under-represented.

The province attributes 88 deaths to distracted driving last year, second to speeding and ahead of impaired driving.

 

Just Posted

Wildfire evacuees eligible for financial assistance

Urged to register at reception centres in Burns Lake, Smithers and Prince George

Wildfire update for Thursday, August 16, 2018

Shovel Lake: 68,375 hectares - yesterday 50,831 hectares The Shovel Lake wildfire… Continue reading

Evacuation order rescinded for Gilmore Lake Fire

Evacuation alert remains in effect

Shovel Lake expanded evacuation order

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako has issued an expanded Evacuation Order and… Continue reading

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

B.C. golfer, just 23, scores the rare albatross

Six-million-to-one shot a first for the Terrace club

Most Read