The increase to distracted driving fines is a positive in RCMP Cpl. Brian Evans’ book.
Earlier this fall Evans issued a ticket that created headlines around the Okanagan when a driver passed through a collision site and snapped a photo from behind the wheel.
The fine at the time was $370 and four penalty points. The four points add up to an additional fine of $175 for a total of $543.
Attorney General David Eby announced last week that the province will designate distracted driving “high-risk” meaning that two distracted driving tickets over three years could net drivers a $2,000 penalty.
“We don’t get a lot of people on this but when we can we do. A lot of the highways around Keremeos do not have cell service. With the increased insurance rates and higher fines it’s really not worth it,” he said. “If you’re phone rings pull over and stop at a safe location. Everyone has voicemail. if you’re anticipating a call immediately then don’t drive away. Just wait.”
Higher penalties for distracted driving were recommended in an Ernst & Young report released earlier this year that looked at ICBC’s management and finances, and found that if nothing changed soon, rates could jump by as much as 30 per cent by 2019.
Distracted driving is a factor in one-quarter of all car crash deaths in B.C. and kills an average of 78 people each year.
About 12,000 drivers have more than one distracted driving ticket over a three-year period.
The increase takes effect March 1, 2018.
– with files from Black Press