Distracted Driving

Are distracted driving laws in B.C. tough enough? Government is considering raising penalties for distracted driving and is now asking British Columbians to offer their input with the launch of a four-week consultation that runs today through July 16, 2015.

A new website – engage.gov.bc.ca/distracteddriving – will collect comments as British Columbians consider whether B.C.’s current fine of $167 and three penalty points is sufficient to deter a behaviour that is now the second-leading contributing factor in motor vehicle deaths on B.C. roads. British Columbians will be able to have their say on questions like:

  • Should drivers caught texting face greater sanctions than those talking on a hand-held device?
  • Should new drivers or repeat offenders face greater penalties?
  • Should sanctions such as prohibitions and vehicle impoundments be considered?

The consultation marks the next step in government’s efforts to stop distracted driving and enhance safety on B.C. roads. Last fall, B.C. increased the penalty points for using a hand-held electronic device while driving, from zero to three, in addition to the $167 fine.

Key statistics:

Penalties vary considerably from province to province. In Nova Scotia, the maximum fine amount is $579, while Ontario’s is $500. Ontario has recently passed legislation to change the maximum fine amount to $1,000.

B.C.’s fine amount of $167 is the second-lowest in Canada.