British Columbia to increase penalties next year for distracted drivers

New fines will take effect on March 1, 2018

Distracted drivers are facing higher penalties in British Columbia.

The provincial government says it wants to designate distracted driving as a high-risk behaviour under the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia’s driver risk premium program.

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That means a driver with two tickets for distracted driving over a three-year period will see their total financial penalties rise to as much as $2,000, an increase of $740 over existing penalties.

The changes will take effect March 1.

The government says the charges are separate from vehicle insurance premiums charged by ICBC and will be levied even if an individual does not own or insure a vehicle.

It says distracted driving is a factor in more than 25% of car crashes fatalities in B.C. and kills an average of 78 people annually.

Attorney General David Eby says in a statement the changes will treat distracted driving as a serious high-risk behaviour.

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