Distracted driving will be costly

  • Distracted driving will be costly

Distracted driving will be costly

The change will mean distracted driving will be considered a high-risk behaviour under the ICBC Driver Risk Premium program.

Distracted driving continues to put people in harm's way and put significant pressure on insurance rates for all drivers Linsangan adds.

Having done their best in recent years to raise awareness about the dangers of doing so, through advertising, enforcement campaigns and fines, the province and the ICBC ramped up their message this week by announcing steeper fines for distracted driving. "Today, we are taking action to curb the behaviour and improve safety for all B.C. road users", B.C. Attorney General David Eby said in a statement.

"It's pretty clear to me we need to make a cultural change in B.C. where people understand distracted driving is similar to drinking and driving or excessive speeding in terms of the deaths and misery on the roads", Eby said. "In the continuing fight against distracted driving, even a single death is one too many". Currently, a driver who gets two distracted tickets in one year pays $1,256 in penalties and points. A second ticket increases "driver penalty points" premiums to $520.

According to ICBC's website, [http://www.icbc.com/road-safety/crashes-happen/Distracted-driving/pages/infographic.aspx] an average of 78 people die every year in vehicle crashes in B.C. where distracted driving was a factor.

BC drivers who are caught using their phones while behind the wheel are about to pay a lot more in penalties. This would result in an extra $3 million to $5 million in additional premiums for the provincial insurance corporation. There are now approximately 12,000 drivers in B.C. who have multiple distracted driving tickets over a three-year period. In other instances of distraction, police also have the ability to issue tickets for other offences such as driving without due care and attention. With the new Driver Risk Premium, they'll pay $1,996.