WATCH: B.C. has some of the toughest distracted driving penalties in the country, but they’re about to get even tougher. Tess van Straaten has more.
Distracted drivers could face a premium hike under the ICBC Driver Risk Premium program if ticketed on B.C. roads.
The B.C. Government is working to designate distracted driving as a high-risk driving behaviour.
This means a driver with two distracted driving tickets in a three-year period will see their total financial penalties rise to as much as $2,000.
That’s an increase of $740 over the existing penalties and in addition to their regular insurance premium.
“Distracted driving continues to put people in danger and significant pressure on insurance rates for all drivers,” Attorney General David Eby said in a media release.
“Once implemented, this change will treat distracted driving as the serious high-risk behaviour that it is; one that is on par with impaired driving and excessive speeding.”
The Attorney General Ministry says distracted driving is a factor in more than 25 per cent of all car crash fatalities in B.C., killing an average of 78 people each year.
There are more than 12,000 B.C. drivers reported to have multiple distracted-driving offences over a three-year period.
When fully implemented, the changes will result in about $3 million to $5 million in additional premiums collected annually.
The government plans to use the money to offset the pressures on ICBC’s overall basic insurance rates.
The Driver Risk Premium charges are separate from Autoplan vehicle insurance premiums and are billed even if the individual does not own or insure a vehicle.