The Provincial Government clearly had good intentions when it made changes to the Motor Vehicle Act in 2010 to prohibit the use of personal electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.
Barely 20 months after the legislation was introduced, Government had already tallied more than 46,000 tickets issued for distracted driving. Despite criticism from drivers, cell phone use while driving soon became a priority for law enforcement and legislators alike. It wasn’t entirely surprising. After all, distracted driving is a serious offence and can be a factor in crashes causing severe injury and death.
ICBC reports that approximately 78 people are killed each year in crashes “where driver inattention or distraction is a factor.” And as Government struggled to figure out how to get drivers to leave their phones alone, police conducted more and more enforcement blitzes with increasing vigilance.
Penalties have also doubled since the legislation was introduced. Initially, drivers caught using an electronic device were subject to a $167 ticket and three penalty points. Changes made in June last year increased the fine to $368 and added an additional penalty point.
This means a driver given a distracted driving ticket will now end up paying $543 in total for a first offence, when factoring in the increased premium for the extra penalty point.
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