B.C. to impose big penalties for distracted driving

The province is cracking down even harder on distracted driving.

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It plans to significantly increase the penalties paid through ICBC.

Distracted driving carries a fine of $368, but on top of the ticket, offenders must also pay Driver Risk Premium charges to ICBC.

These charges are billed even if the driver does not own or insure a vehicle.

Currently two distracted driving tickets in one year will cost approximately $1,256 in total.

Once the changes are implemented, the same two offences will cost almost $2,000.

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Premiums increase with each offence, and multiple violations can result in a driving record review, which could result in three-to-12-month driving prohibitions.

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“Distracted driving continues to put people in danger and significant pressure on insurance rates for all drivers. Today, we are taking action to curb the behaviour and improve safety for all B.C. road users,” Attorney General David Eby said in a news release. “Once implemented, this change will treat distracted driving as the serious high-risk behaviour that it is; one that is on par with impaired driving and excessive speeding. Taking action to improve safety and penalize dangerous behaviours benefits all British Columbians and is another step in the right direction.”

According to ICBC, distracted driving is a factor in more than 25 per cent of fatal car crashes in B.C..

The changes are expected to net between $3 million and $5 million for the company, which will be used to offset ICBC’s basic insurance rates.

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