Distracted driving fines increase in British Columbia

On the first of June, the fines for distracted driving went up in British Columbia. The increase was substantial, as the fines more than doubled, rising from just $167 all the way to $368.

If greater fines are not enough, officials have also increased the amount of points that such a charge puts on a person's record. It used to be three points and will now be four.

The penalty point change is huge, as it also increases the fine. For a first offense, a driver will have to pay another $175, which is the ICBC Driver Penalty Point premium. That means that a first distracted driving charge will really cost a person $543 in all fines and fees.

For a second offense, the ICBC Driver Penalty Point premium rises all the way to $520. This will need to be paid along with the $368, meaning the second offense costs a total of $888. When added to the costs from the first offense, that means that texting and driving just twice will cost someone $1,431.

Despite the ban on distracted driving, officials are still seeing reports for it month after month. They hope that the new fines will make people think twice about looking at a cell phone or doing other things to be distracted behind the wheel. Driver distraction is one of the leading causes of accidents and has been shown in some studies to be at least as dangerous as drunk driving.

Those who have been injured in distracted driving accidents should know that they also may be able to seek personal compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and the like. This is true no matter how much the driver had to pay in fines.

Source: Government of British Columbia, "Distractions While Driving - Cell Phones and Other Devices," accessed June 03, 2016

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