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BC doubles distracted driving fine, targets serial offenders

Posted: May 11, 2016 by Dave Nesseth

VICTORIA, BC – British Columbia has more than doubled its fine for distracted driving, raising the base penalty from $175 to $368 effective June 1.

The new sanctions reflect what government heard during a public consultation where 90% of respondents supported stronger distracted driving penalties. In 2014, distracted and inattentive driving was a factor in 66 deaths and 630 serious injuries on B.C. roads.

Over the past three years, approximately 50,000 distracted driving tickets have been issued annually.

  • The base fine is in addition to penalty point premiums from the Insurance Company of British Columbia (ICBC), which start at $175 for the first offence and climb for any additional offence within a 12-month period.

“Significantly higher fines, more penalty points, and earlier interventions for repeat offenders – including driving prohibitions – will reinvigorate the province’s push to eliminate distracted driving, a leading factor in deaths on B.C. roads,” the province announced in a statement Monday.

The province is also pushing back against repeat offenders, who will have their driving record subject to an automatic review that could result in a three-to-12 month driving prohibition.

  • First-time offenders will face a minimum $543 in financial penalties.
  • Repeat offenders, upon a second offence within 12 months, will pay the $368 fine plus $520, for a total of $888 in financial penalties, which escalate further for any additional offence.

Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) drivers face intervention after a first distracted driving offence and a possible prohibition of up to six months. There will be longer prohibitions for repeat offences. The superintendent of motor vehicles also has discretion to prohibit drivers based on referrals from ICBC or police.

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