June 30, 2015 1:29 pm
Updated: June 30, 2015 1:48 pm

Vehicle impoundment, licence suspensions mulled as penalties for distracted driving

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At the halfway point of B.C.’s distracted driving consultation, many respondents would like to see tougher penalties.

Since June 16, almost 90 per cent of respondents say they are “very concerned” about distracted driving and 96 per cent support escalating sanctions for repeat offenders.

B.C.’s current distracted driving penalties are the second-lowest in the country with a fine of $167 and three penalty points.

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Many B.C. residents favour increasing the fine amount and would like to see stiffer penalties, such as vehicle impoundments and licence suspensions as part of the penalty process.

Vehicle impoundment currently exists as a sanction for excessive speeding and drinking and driving, ranging from three to 60 days.

Justice Minister Suzanne Anton said, “we need people to stop thinking it’s OK to be on your mobile device and driving, it’s not.”

The consultation runs until July 16. To take part, go to gov.bc.ca/distracteddriving or tweet @RoadSafetyBC using the #distractedbc hashtag.

“Over the remaining two weeks of the consultation, our goal is to focus on the feedback from British Columbians and really hone in on what will make people put their phones away – or avoid picking them up in the first place,”said Anton. “While this means fines and penalty points, I would expect we will also seriously consider vehicle impoundments and licence suspensions for repeat offenders.”

There have been more than 36,000 responses to the nine questions on the site so far.

Police handed out more than 55,000 distracted driving tickets last year. That’s up from 53,000 the year before. Eighty-eight people died last year on B.C. roads due to distracted driving.

 

© 2015 Shaw Media

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