Should drivers caught texting face greater sanctions than those talking on a hand-held device?
Should new drivers or repeat offenders face greater distracted driving penalties?
Should sanctions such as prohibitions and vehicle impoundments be considered?
RoadSafetyBC love to hear your thoughts on these questions and more around distracted driving penalties. Too lenient? Not high enough? The BC government is thinking about raising penalties for distracted driving and so want to hear from you.
Starting today (June 16, 2015) until July 16, 2015, you can share your comments on a new website engage.gov.bc.ca/distracteddriving on whether BC’s current fine of $167 and three penalty points is enough to stop people from this dangerous habit. Or tweet @RoadSafetyBC using the hashtag #distractedBC to participate.
To get started, here are 10 things you need to know:
- Under the definition of using of an electronic device, there is a complete ban on a driver who is: holding, operating, communicating, or watching the screen of a hand-held electronic communication device, including devices that process or compute data, sending or receiving text messages or email on any type of electronic device.
- BC’s distracted driving legislation also prohibits drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program from using all hand-held electronic devices, including hands-free.
- BC introduced its distracted driving legislation five years ago.
- The penalties for using an electronic device were increased in October 2014 to a $167 fine and three penalty points.
- Penalties vary considerably from province to province. In Nova Scotia, the maximum fine
amount is $579, while Ontario’s is $500. Ontario has recently passed legislation to change the
maximum fine amount to $1,000.
- BC’s fine amount of $167 is the second-lowest in Canada.
- Distracted driving is now the second-leading contributing factor in motor vehicle deaths on our roads.
- An estimated 9,500 drivers in BC are using a hand-held electronic device at any given time, and 40% of them are texting or emailing while driving.
- Texting or using a smartphone while driving is more distracting than talking on one the crash risk is 23 times higher for drivers who text.
- In 2014, police issued approximately 55,100 tickets to drivers who were caught using an electronic device behind the wheel in 2013, they issued about 53,000.
After this consultation, RoadSafetyBC will consider the feedback in its recommendations for any revisions to distracted driving penalties in our province.
You can also check out the news release.
And remember that website: engage.gov.bc.ca/distracteddriving