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Penalties for high-risk B.C. drivers caught breaking the rules just jumped 20 per cent

A photo illustration of distracted driving.   .
A photo illustration of distracted driving. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

B.C. drivers caught speeding, texting or violating a variety of other measures in the Motor Vehicle act or Criminal Code will now be on the hook for bigger penalties.

The province hiked penalties by 20 per cent for both Driver Penalty Point (DPP) premiums and Driver Risk Premiums (DRP) on Nov. 1.

READ MORE: With little warning, increased penalties for high-risk B.C. drivers to go into effect this week

Both sets of penalties are used to discourage reckless driving, and are separate and in addition to tickets handed out by police at the roadside. They are still billed even if the driver does not insure or own a vehicle.

NDP government to institute tougher penalties for distracted driving
NDP government to institute tougher penalties for distracted driving

Driver Penalty Points are handed out for speeding, distracted driving, driving without a licence, running a red light and a variety of other minor infractions.

Penalty points are assessed on a one-year basis, and drivers who collect four or more of them pay an insurance premium that starts at $252 (up from $210 before Nov. 1) and runs as high as $34,560 for 50 points (up from $28,800 before Nov. 1).

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READ MORE: $1,566 in fines for B.C. driver busted for speeding after being let off with a warning

Driver Risk Premiums are assessed separately from DPP premiums, and are handed out for Criminal Code violations, roadside suspensions and prohibitions, distracted driving infractions and excessive speeding.

Government proposed huge ICBC increases for bad drivers
Government proposed huge ICBC increases for bad drivers

ICBC looks at how many DRPs a driver has amassed over a three-year period when assessing the penalty.

The minimum DRP for excessive speeding (one infraction) has climbed from $384 to $461, the minimum for distracted driving or roadside suspensions/prohibitions (two infractions) has climbed from $444 to $533, and the minimum for Criminal Code violations (one infraction) has climbed from $1,086 to $1,303.

READ MORE: 2 tickets in 6 minutes cost B.C. distracted driver more than $1,800

DRP penalties stack on a climbing scale; 10 Criminal Code violations, for example, would cost a driver $34,560 (up from $28,800 before Nov. 1), while 10 excessive speeding infractions would cost $1,627 *up from $1,356).

2019 is the second year in a row ICBC has hiked DRPs and DPP premiums by 20 per cent.