Are Fines for Distracted Driving in BC too Low?

Immediate communication has become the norm and many feel obligated to respond to texts and e-mails while driving.  Attorney General Suzanne Anton says distracted drivers aren’t taking current penalties seriously enough.

“I am concerned that distracted driving is the second-largest contributing factor in motor-vehicle fatalities on BC roads,” said Anton.

Effective October 20, the number of demerit points associated with distracted driving will increase from zero to three. The existing fine of $167 will stay the same. Is this enough to deter drivers from using their devices while driving?

Victoria police Deputy Chief Del Manak says no.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the current $167 fine is not sufficient to set deterrence for many of the people who continue to text and drive or talk on their cellphone and drive,” Manak said.

Police cited 51,000 drivers last year for distracted driving. According to RoadSafetyBC, distracted drivers caused 77 deaths in BC compared to 63 caused by impaired driving in 2013.

BC currently has one of the lowest distracted driving fines in Canada.

For More Information:

  • B.C. government announces stiffer penalties for distracted driving, The Vancouver Sun
  • Distracted driving laws across Canada, CBC News

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Michael Slater, K.C.
Michael Slater K.C. is the founding partner of Slater Vecchio. The majority of his practice is confined to traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury cases.