Harsher penalties will be introduced in the coming months for motorists who use their phones and other devices while driving in British Columbia.
B.C.’s Justice Minister, Suzanne Anton, revealed today that the province aims to increase the fines and penalty points for distracted driving offences. The new sanctions are expected to take effect within the next six months.
Penalized drivers currently receive three penalty points and a fine of $167 – the second-lowest fine in the country for this offence, and well below the $1,000 drivers must pay in Ontario.
Some six people on average die in road collisions in B.C. each week, and Anton says the new measures are designed to decrease the number of fatalities.
“Even though the number of road deaths in B.C. has been trending down over the last decade, these numbers are shocking,” Minister Anton told a conference of road safety partners this morning.
“To see 290 people dead in the last year because a driver chose to disobey the speed limits, couldn’t leave their phone alone or had some drinks before getting behind the wheel is as frustrating as it is tragic,” she added.
Between 2005 and 2014, road deaths have decreased by 36pc in the province, from 452 to 290.
Distracted driving is blamed as a significant contributor for road deaths in B.C., and the government says it has overtaken drunken driving as a cause in fatal collisions.