Strong penalties for safer roads

Strong penalties for safer roads: B.C. ups the ante on distracted driving

Editor:

Distracted driving has resulted in an enormous toll for far too many lives. As summer approaches and more people travel the roads for vacations and day trips, we are reminding people to leave their phones alone while driving.

In an effort to make sure that drivers are not only aware but comply, we are sharing the following information.

Effective June 1, each offence will include a base fine of $368 up from $167 – and will add four penalty points to a person’s driving record. A first-time offender will therefore face a minimum fine of $543 which includes ICBC’s escalating Driver Penalty Point premium of $175 for the first offence.

Repeat offenders within 12 months will see escalating fines as the penalty point premiums continue to rise and they will also have their driving record subject to automatic review which could result in a three-to-12 month driving prohibition.

Driving is a privilege, not a right and for those drivers who don’t take the responsibility seriously, we are serious about putting in place penalties that will force them to change their behaviour. These actions will affect their wallets and could impact their privilege to drive.

Deaths resulting from distracted driving is entirely avoidable, yet the consequences can be devastating. Too many people have died or been injured due to distracted drivers. In 2014 alone, 66 people were killed and 630 were seriously injured in crashes caused by distracted driving and inattention.

It’s easy to help keep our community safe. Our goal is to make B.C.’s roads the safest in North America by 2020. You can do your part by leaving your phone alone and keeping your hands on the wheel.

Mary Polak, MLA and Rich Coleman, MLA