What does it take to lose your driver’s licence in B.C.?
After a repeat distracted driver was issued her 14th violation ticket by the Vancouver Police, prompting a call from the force to prohibit her from ever getting behind the wheel again, questions are being raised about what it takes to lose a driver’s licence in British Columbia.
On Wednesday, Vancouver Police Tweeted they have requested that the driver in question have her licence suspended.
The woman in her 40s, who, police say, is an “experienced driver,” was initially publicly exposed by Richmond RCMP on their Twitter account.
The document tweeted by Richmond RCMP shows the woman had 12 prior distracted driving violations and had nearly collided with a Richmond RCMP officer while again driving distracted.
Vancouver Police spokesman Randy Fincham says after the same woman was given her 14th ticket for the same offence that they are now calling for more action to be taken in her case.
Fincham says they are applying to the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles to have them review the woman’s driving history and determine if, at this point, it might be more appropriate to have her licence suspended.
The Superintendent of Motor Vehicles has the authority to identify a driver as “high risk” and monitor or prohibit them from driving.
In a statement to Global News, the Ministry of Public Safety said,
“It is understandable that the public is concerned about a single driver having so many distracted driving infractions. We are well aware of the situation and as frustrated as everyone else. We all are working to fix the distracted driving problem in this province.
It’s important to note that the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles has authority to prohibit a person from driving if, in his opinion, the driver has an unsatisfactory driving record – meaning it is in the public interest to prohibit. This would be decided after a thorough review of a driving record, however, a decision would not be made public for privacy reasons.”
What constitutes distracted driving?
B.C.’s Motor Vehicle Act stipulates a person “must not communicate by means of an electronic device with another person or another device by electronic mail or other text-based message” while driving.
An “electronic device” is defined as a hand-held cell phone or another hand-held electronic device that includes a telephone function or a hand-held electronic device that is capable of transmitting or receiving electronic mail or other text-based messages.
The device “use” implies holding the device in a position in which it may be used, operating one or more of the device’s functions or communicating orally by means of the device with another person or another device.
Adding up the numbers
Distracted driving carries a fine of $167 and three demerit points in B.C.
Assuming none of the 14 distracted driving infraction have been disputed by the driver in question, the woman would be out nearly $2,300 in fines alone.
As far as penalty points are concerned, ICBC says they remain on a person’s driving record for five years and can result in further penalties, including prohibitions from driving.
Specifically, any driver with more than three points has to pay a penalty premium on their insurance, starting at $175, and escalating if they receive more penalty points.
The penalty for anyone who receives more than one distracted driving ticket in a year is at least $634 – the equivalent of two fines and a $300 penalty premium for six points.
According to the Driver Penalty Point Premium chart provided by ICBC, 14 distracted driving infractions would result in 42 penalty points, which would mean a $16,160 annual driver penalty point premium, assuming all infractions have been committed in a 12-month period.
A number of police forces around the Lower Mainland were out patrolling for distracted driving today.
ICBC, police and the B.C. government launched a month-long distracted driving campaign this month. The province-wide campaign is designed to improve road safety and drive home the facts that distracted driving is dangerous and drivers are five times more likely to crash if they are using their phone.