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B.C. government begins public consultation on increasing distracted driving fines

WATCH: Think BC’s distracted driving penalties aren’t tough enough? Here’s your chance to weigh in. The province is asking for your input as it looks at whether to increase fines and impose stiffer penalties. Grace Ke explains.

The provincial government is taking a look at increasing fines for distracted drivers and wants you to weigh in.

A four-week consultation process launches with a new website today.

The province wants to hear answers to questions like, should drivers who are caught texting face greater sanctions than those who are caught talking on a hand-held cell phone and, should new drivers or repeat offenders face greater penalties?

Distracted driving is now the second-leading contributing factor in fatal car crashes in B.C.

As it stands, B.C. drivers ticketed for distracted driving face three penalty points and a $167 fine, which is the second lowest fine in Canada.

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Ontario recently passed legislation to change the maximum fine to $1,000.

In Nova Scotia, fines were increased from $176 to $234 for a first offence, and from $350 to $579 for any subsequent offences this February.

To participate in the consultation, go to engage.gov.bc.ca/distracteddriving.

You can also Tweet @RoadSafetyBC using hashtag #distractedBC or email your comments to citizenengagement@gov.bc.ca.

The consultation process ends July 16.

WATCH: Justice Minister Suzanne Anton spoke on Global BC Morning Show with more on distracted driving penalties

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