Tougher penalties for distracted driving to come into effect in BC this month

Mar 6 2018, 1:35 am

Starting as of March 2018, ICBC and the police are introducing new measures to combat distracted driving.

ICBC, the provincial government, and the police have announced increased police enforcement for distracted driving. They’ve also revealed that they’ll be testing new technology to prevent distracted driving, as well as increasing penalties.

Convictions for distracted driving will now be included in ICBC’s Driver Risk Premium (DRP) program – a premium that a driver pays if they have a driving-related criminal conviction, motor vehicle act convictions, speeding convictions, roadside suspensions, and now use of an electronic device. That means that drivers with multiple convictions for use of electronic devices while driving will face even higher premiums on top of their insurance.

Drivers could see themselves paying as much as $2,000 in fines – an increase of $740 over previous penalties.

Police have also begun testing two new projects to help take on distracted driving. The first project is a small device installed in a driver’s vehicle that blocks the use of their handheld phone when driving.

The other project is a “distracted driving scope”, which helps police catch dangerous driving behaviour. Both projects have launched for the month of March to test their efficacy.

Drivers are being encouraged to do their part and help reduce distractions and temptations that might cause one to look at their phone. Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety, has revealed that since 2010 more than 300, 000 tickets for electronic device use has been issued.

Police are urging people to turn on their “Do Not Disturb While Driving feature” (or similarly available apps) and be part of the solution.

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