British Columbia is increasing the fines for distracted driving, and introducing the possibility of other penalties as well.
Currently, if convicted of distracted driving in BC, you get a $167 penalty for your first offense. That makes your cellphone call a pricy chat, but it’s about to get much more expensive. Starting June 1, the cost of that first-time offense will rise to $543. That breaks down to a $368 fine, and $175 penalty point premium through provincial auto insurer ICBC.
Repeat offenders will pay dearly. If you’re caught again within a year, you’ll pay an $888 fine. A third offense is $1,600. Insurance costs are also likely to rise, as penalty points for distracted driving will rise from three points to four.
But wait, there’s more! After a second distracted driving offence, the driver’s licence will be reviewed by the Superintendant of Motor Vehicles, who can authorize a driving ban from three to 12 months.
In years past, it was left-turning vehicles that motorcyclists feared most. Now, texting drivers have possibly replaced that danger, but thankfully it sounds like BC is trying to address the problem, once more making them possibly Canada’s most bike-friendly province. If only we could get them to bring in lanesplitting …