Penalty points added for distracted driving

Three points added to $167 fine for talking on handheld phone, watching video or programming GPS while driving

Justice Minister Suzanne Anton

Talking on your handheld phone or fiddling with a music player while driving will cost you three penalty points in addition to a $167 fine, effective Oct. 20.

Justice Minister Suzanne Anton announced the additional penalty points Wednesday, making it the same as the penalty for texting and driving. Penalty points are also added for infractions such as watching a video or programming a phone’s GPS system.

Anton said the B.C. government is also reviewing its fines and could increase them, but not to the $1,000 fine Ontario drivers face for a first offence of distracted driving.

“I think a $1,000 fine is rather high,” Anton said.

Penalty points remain on a driving record for five years, and result in a $175 increase in insurance as soon as they exceed three points. Fines and points for two distracted driving tickets in a year add up to at least $634. At nine points, the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles considers licence suspension.

Anton said there were 51,000 tickets issued last year for distracted driving of all kinds.

“Ticket volumes show us that more drivers are ticketed for talking on an electronic device than for texting and driving, and so that is where we decided to start with the new penalty points,” Anton said.

Distracted driving is the second biggest cause of fatal vehicle accidents, with an average 88 people killed per year from 2009 to 2013. That compares to 105 deaths attributed to speeding and 86 due to alcohol or drug impairment.

Police can also issue tickets for driving without due care and attention to any driver who is noticeably distracted or inattentive and increasing risk to others.

 

Just Posted

Reel Reviews: Atypical college life

We say, “Life of the Party is pleasant and harmless.”

Fun and games, medieval style

more fun than watching the royal wedding

Families honoured by Penticton Speedway Memorial race

Young Guns Memorial Weekend is held at the Penticton Speedway this weekend

Canadian Forces coming to help Twin Lakes

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen said 44 Canadian Forces deployed

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Rachel Notley to skip premiers conference to focus on pipeline deal

Kinder Morgan has ceased all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline project until it receives assurances

B.C. tech company will power Uber Elevate

Moli and Uber announce research and development partnership.

Talking music at Penticton’s Dream Café

Listen Up! to Holger Petersen

UPDATE: Woman dies in ocean accident near Tofino hours before daughter’s wedding

“We are so thankful to everyone who helped our mom.”

Olympian sues USA Swimming, saying it failed to protect her

Ariana Kukors Smith alleges her former coach Sean Hutchison began grooming her for sexual abuse at the age of 13

Defence minister thanks troops for B.C. flood relief work

Harjit Sajjan says not only was military response quick, support from locals has been ‘tremendous’

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

Most Read