WATCH: Put your phone down! Tough new distracted driving sanctions take effect June 1st. Tess van Straaten has the details.
Police have been cracking down on drivers talking and texting for years — but people still aren’t get the message about distracted driving.
“It’s clear that our current penalties have not been enough to change this dangerous driving behaviour,” says Chief Les Sylvan of the Central Saanich Police.
That’s why the B.C. government is upping those penalties — significantly.
At a media conference Monday, B.C.’s public safety minster and transportation announced tough new sanctions that start at more than triple the current fine and go up to almost $15,000 for repeat offenders.
“We’re getting tough because distracted driving kills,” says public safety minister Mike Morris. “In 2014 alone, distracted driving and inattention contributed to 66 deaths — 66 deaths that were totally and 100 per cent preventable.”
Minimum financial penalty will be $543 up to almost $15,000 for repeat offenders
The current $167 fine will jump to $368 plus four points, for a minimum penalty of $543.
A second offence will cost a total of $888 with fines climbing steeply from there — $4,128 for a fifth offence and a whopping $14,928 for a tenth offence
“There is no call, there is no text so important that it’s worth risking your life and risking the lives of others around you,” says transportation minister Todd Stone.
In addition to the hefty fines, drivers who receive two or more tickets within a one-year period will also have their driving records automatically reviewed and may fave a driving prohibition of three to 12 months.
New drivers will have an automatic review after their first offence but critics say that doesn’t go far enough.
The new penalties take effect June 1st and will be among the highest in Canada.