B.C. Has the Lowest Fines and Penalties for Distracted Driving
B.C. Lags Behind In Fines and Penalties for Distracted Driving
As many Canadian provinces combat distracted driving with increased fines and demerit points for drivers, the NDP government in British Columbia has criticized B.C.’s government who continues to have the lowest penalties for distracted driving in Canada.
As other provinces increase fines for distracted driving, B.C. has the lowest penalties in Canada. B.C.’s provincial government has stated that changes are coming but have not provided an exact timeline for those changes. As a comparison, currently, fines in Ontario and PEI range from $490 to $1,200 while fines in B.C. are $167 and three penalty points.
The NDP Justice Critic in B.C. has stated that the provincial government is procrastinating, knowing that drivers need a strong financial deterrent when it comes to distracted driving. In a recent statement, Mr. Farnworth stated,
“We’re sitting in the Legislature right now debating legislation and there’s no reason why something like this couldn’t be done in this session.”
Distracted Driving Survey Findings Not Released
Last year, the government conducted a province-wide survey to gauge the public’s opinion regarding the changes in law residents of the province would like to see. The results of the findings have not been released. According to the Justice Critic, amendments to the distracted driving fines in B.C. are not complicated. The province has precedents regarding Ontario who has implemented some of the most stringent measures when it comes to distracted driving.
Distracted driving continues to be a concern on Canadian roads, heading to be the number one cause of deadly crashes. Last year in Vancouver alone, there were more than 9,000 tickets issued for distracted driving. In the first few months of this year, there have already been over 1,200 tickets issued for distracted driving. Despite continued education of drivers by driving educations such as Young Drivers of Canada, distracted behaviours continue to rise, resulting in increased collisions, injuries and fatalities.
Distracted driving is not just about using the cell phone. It can as simple as eating or drinking while driving or engaging in personal hygiene while operating a motor vehicle. B.C.’s current legislation does not allow drivers to touch their phones while operating their vehicle, even if a driver is at a red light or stop sign. Distracted driving is any action that takes away from the task of driving. Driving is complicated and requires a driver’s full attention. Let’s hope B.C.’s distracted driving penalties catch up with the rest of Canada soon!