One of a series of B.C. government graphics aimed at educating drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.

Public demands higher distracted driving fines

Thousands offer advice on stronger penalties, but most are older people from the Lower Mainland

Halfway through a consultation on distracted driving policy, the vast majority of B.C. residents who have responded want fines increased.

Justice Minister Suzanne Anton says thousands of people have participated on the B.C. government’s consultation website, and more than 90 per cent want stronger action to stop people talking or texting on their phones while they’re behind the wheel. The issue now is how high the fines should go.

“British Columbians are also telling us they want to see tougher escalating penalties for repeat offenders, because right now some people see the $167 ticket as the cost of doing business,” Anton said Tuesday. “We need to stop that.”

B.C.’s fine is the second lowest in Canada, and a three-point insurance penalty was added last fall. Anton said she doesn’t intend to follow Ontario’s lead and put the fine up to $1,000 for repeat offenders, but an increase will be coming within a year.

Comments on the website continue to debate the merits of seizing cellphones from drivers, but Anton reiterated that option is not being considered.

Suspending licences or impounding vehicles of repeat offenders is on the table, however. Saskatchewan impounds the vehicle for a week if the driver gets two distracted driving tickets less than a year apart.

The consultation continues until July 16. Participants are asked to reply to nine questions.

The crowd-sourcing exercise has its weaknesses. Only five per cent of respondents have come from the B.C. Interior, and Anton said younger people are also under-represented.

The province attributes 88 deaths to distracted driving last year, second to speeding and ahead of impaired driving.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Farmer lighting up 64 years of Christmas in Langley

A private light display near Williams Park in rural Langley continues to attract some spectators.

VIDEO AND PHOTOS: Langley firefighters take Santa for a ride

Seasonal fundraiser through Walnut Grove and Brookswood swaps candy canes for Food Bank donations

Christmas bird count is Dec. 30

The Langley and White Rock Naturalist clubs invite the public to help

Langley church prepares massive meal

A local chef and parishioners are taking charge in the kitchen for St. Joseph’s 25th annual dinner.

Giants ‘stuff’ Cougars

Vancouver blanks Cougars on Teddy Bear Toss night at Langley Events Centre

VIDEO: Langley Christmas Bureau braces for busy toy distribution days

Volunteers spent the weekend sorting gifts donated for kids from Langley’s underprivileged families.

Coghlan Christmas a sell-out for Aldergrove music fans

“Christmas Swing” concert presentation by Mike Sanyshyn, Tianna Lefebvre and Craig McGregor

Mini Pop Kids in Surrey for mid-February concert

Victoria and Kelowna the other two B.C. stops for ‘high-energy, interactive’ touring show

UPDATE: Coquihalla reopened northbound just south of Merritt

Reports say nine patients will be taken to hospital as a result of the Hwy. 5 crash

B.C. wildfire evacuee admits to setting hotel room fire

A Williams Lake wildfire evacuee admitted to setting Kamloops hotel room on fire

SLIDESHOW: A ‘bear’y good time at Giants games

The fur was flying as the Vancouver Giants celebrated their annual Teddy Bear Toss at the Langley Events Centre

UPDATE: Grizzly bear trophy hunting over in B.C.

Now only Indigenous people can hunt bears for meat

Star Blue Jays announced for Vancouver ‘Winter Tour’ event in January

Toronto’s pro baseball team heads west for two-day event

UPDATE: ‘Multiple fatalities’ as Amtrak derails in Washington State

13 cars jumped the tracks as train made its first voyage between Seattle and Portland

Most Read