B.C.’s distracted driving penalty jumps to $543 June 1

$888 for a second offence and possible review by Superintendent of Motor Vehicles

New distracted driving scopes allow police to spot offenders 1.2 kilometres away.

The penalty for using a cell phone while driving just went up today.

Effective June 1, distracted driving offences will result in a $368 fine, and when the $175 penalty points premium by ICBC is added on for the four-penalty-point infraction, that means a minimum $543 fine for first-time offenders.

A second offence within a 12-month period drives the cost up to $888.

Just two weeks ago, B.C. Mounties unveiled a new weapon in their arsenal to catch offending drivers unaware: distracted driving scopes that allow them to see infractions up to 1.2 kilometres away.

The change in rules mean the province now regards distracted driving as a “high-risk driving offence”, on par with excessive speeding, driving without due care and attention, and driving without reasonable consideration.

Repeat offenders will have their driving record subject to automatic review by Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.

For new drivers, first-time offenders who are still driving under the graduated licensing program, face a possible prohibition of up to six months.

Judging from recent enforcement efforts, drivers don’t seem to be getting the message that using their cell phones is illegal.

Last month, officers from the BC RCMP provincial Integrated Road Safety Units doled out 264 tickets on Victoria Day weekend for distracted driving, driving without due care and attention and driving without reasonable consideration, up from 199 a year earlier.

In March, a road safety unit in Kelowna handed out 37 violation tickets for distracted driving in less than three hours.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Friday night fire outside Saanich Staples

Witness says two employees helped put out blaze

Victoria non-profit empowers women escaping abusive homes with a fresh start

Organization’s gift certificate program helped around 400 women last year

VIDEO: Royal Bay Secondary students take flight in ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’

Play tells the story of the orphan who becomes Peter Pan

Sidney designer showing killer collection at Van Fashion Week

A young Sidney designer is showing her 14 piece collection Obsidian Nights at Vancouver Fashion Week

Support group helps Victoria parents navigate issues with children

Parents and caregivers offered “free, safe, non-judgmental, confidential” support

VIDEO: Iconic ‘snow cone’ takes shape at B.C. park near Clearwater

Snow cone forming at Wells Gray Provincial Park one that would make Disney’s Queen Elsa proud

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

B.C.-based ‘Team Tardi’ brings home gold in junior curling worlds

In a 9-4 victory over Switzerland, a Langley-based curling team earned its 2nd straight world title

Most Read