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

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: The framework for reconciliation

Guest View from writers involved in the United Nations declaration.

Lego League provincial champions

Smithers’ Marley and Amelie are B.C. Lego League champions, and are fundraising to compete in Texas.

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read