With little warning, increased penalties for high-risk B.C. drivers to go into effect this week
David Eby has strong words for drivers who rack up tickets and points: Prepare to pay more.
On Tuesday, Eby, B.C.’s Attorney General, announced increased financial penalties for excessive speeding, impaired driving and distracted driving. The increased penalties come into effect on Nov. 1st.
“Reckless drivers put others at risk, and they’re contributing to the rise in crashes we’re seeing on our roads,” Eby said in a press release. “To help make our roads safer and hold people accountable, we’re bringing in higher penalties for drivers who engage in dangerous behaviour behind the wheel.”
According to the provincial government, penalty amounts are going up by 20 per cent for the following two programs:
- The Driver Risk Premium (DRP) is charged annually to drivers who are convicted of dangerous driving offences such as excessive speeding, two or more distracted driving violations, impaired driving convictions, roadside suspensions or prohibitions. Drivers could pay for the same offence multiple times, as the DRP depends on a person’s driving record in the last three years.
- The Driver Penalty Point (DPP) premium is a penalty for collecting four or more points from traffic violations. The premium amount depends on the total number of points accumulated in a 12-month period.
The province says DRP and DPP are insurance penalties drivers must pay to ICBC in addition to the fine they must pay for the original violation. A driver will only be charged under one of the programs each year, whichever penalty is the highest.
Drivers who do not pay their DRP or DPP penalty cannot get a new driver’s licence or purchase vehicle insurance through ICBC, and will be charged 19.6 per cent in interest after 60 days without payment. However, the government added that drivers can reduce or eliminate penalties by surrendering their licence for some or all of their billing period. The province says there are approximately 66,000 drivers who pay one of these penalties.
The DRP and DPP are separate from Autoplan insurance premiums. The penalties are billed even for people who do not own or insure a vehicle.
According to the provincial government:
- The Driver Penalty Point premium currently ranges from $175 for four points to $24,000 for 50 or more points. With the 20% increase starting Nov. 1, 2018, these penalties will go up to $210 for four points and $28,800 for 50 or more points.
- Penalties will increase by 20 per cent again on Nov. 1, 2019, to keep in line with previous increases in basic premiums.
- Going forward, penalties will match any changes to the basic insurance premium. Based on the increases, ICBC expects to collect $26 million in penalties in 2019, $32 million in 2020, and $36 million in 2021 (fiscal year from April to March).
A new survey found 64 per cent of British Columbians believe drivers are getting worse.
Mario Canseco of Research Co. found that 83 per cent of British Columbians witnessed a driver not signalling before a turn in the last month and 67 per cent saw a driver not stopping at an intersection.
“There’s a bit of a generational war going on,” Canseco said. “When you ask people who are over the age of 55, who are the worst drivers…they are likely to say young drivers. But when you ask those who are 18 to 34 years old, they are more likely to say it’s older drivers.”
— With files from Gord MacDonald