Penalty points added for distracted driving

Three points added to $167 fine for talking on handheld phone, watching video or programming GPS while driving

Justice Minister Suzanne Anton

Talking on your handheld phone or fiddling with a music player while driving will cost you three penalty points in addition to a $167 fine, effective Oct. 20.

Justice Minister Suzanne Anton announced the additional penalty points Wednesday, making it the same as the penalty for texting and driving. Penalty points are also added for infractions such as watching a video or programming a phone’s GPS system.

Anton said the B.C. government is also reviewing its fines and could increase them, but not to the $1,000 fine Ontario drivers face for a first offence of distracted driving.

“I think a $1,000 fine is rather high,” Anton said.

Penalty points remain on a driving record for five years, and result in a $175 increase in insurance as soon as they exceed three points. Fines and points for two distracted driving tickets in a year add up to at least $634. At nine points, the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles considers licence suspension.

Anton said there were 51,000 tickets issued last year for distracted driving of all kinds.

“Ticket volumes show us that more drivers are ticketed for talking on an electronic device than for texting and driving, and so that is where we decided to start with the new penalty points,” Anton said.

Distracted driving is the second biggest cause of fatal vehicle accidents, with an average 88 people killed per year from 2009 to 2013. That compares to 105 deaths attributed to speeding and 86 due to alcohol or drug impairment.

Police can also issue tickets for driving without due care and attention to any driver who is noticeably distracted or inattentive and increasing risk to others.

 

Just Posted

PRICK! sees increase in patients

The rainbow friendly service offers STI and HIV screening monthly

First Things First evoking the power of song and play

Environmental group educating through entertainment

Super blood wolf moon fills Okanagan skies, to photographers’ delight

Photographers had a rare chance Sunday to capture a rare lunar eclipse

Creator of trans webcomic series Assigned Male coming to Penticton

Stop is part of French-Canadian author Sophie Labelle’s Serious Trans Vibes Tour

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

9 brains, 3 hearts: Some wild facts about octopuses

Things to know about the giant Pacific octopus, which is naturally found in the waters of the U.S. West coast, the Aleutian Islands and Japan

Hollywood announces 2019 Oscar nominations

Netflix has scored its first best picture nomination, something the streaming giant has dearly sought

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

Man charged in 7-Eleven fire in Shuswap granted bail

Accused facing arson charges released with 23 conditions including a 7 p.m. curfew

Signs commemorating Japanese interment in the Shuswap planned

Information on each of the five internment camps in the area will be provided at camp locations

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

Most Read