Distracted Driving in BC: Tickets, Point Penalties, Prohibitions and Other Penalties

Depending on how you look at it, technology can be a boon or a bane. It makes our lives so much easier and better in many ways, but it also has its downsides.

One of those negative aspects is that technology has become so portable, coming with us into our vehicles and distracting us from the very important task of staying focused when we’re behind the wheel.

There’s no two ways about it; distracted driving is dangerous, and in fact, it is the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in BC. (In Ontario, it has surpassed drunk driving as the #1 cause of fatal car crashes.)

Given that the fines and demerits for distracted driving violations have recently increased (as of June 1st, 2016), we thought it would be helpful to review the consequences that BC has in place to discourage and penalize distracted driving.

Violation Tickets

A distracted driving violation ticket has more than doubled from $167 to $368.

Violation Penalty Points

Penalty points applied to a driver’s record have increased from 3 to 4 points

Effect on ICBC Driver Premiums

Additional driver premiums also apply; for a first infraction, the driver will have to pay $175 on top of the ticket, and the premiums increase for subsequent violations.

Driving Prohibitions & Other Interventions

Distracted driving violations are considered high risk driving infractions, and two or more infractions within a year will trigger a early intervention by the Driver Improvement Program (DIP).

Under the DIP, a driver may be subject to warning letters, monitoring, and potentially face a driving prohibition of 3-12 months.

Additional Consequences for Learner and Novice Drivers

Graduated Licensing Program drivers (L and N drivers) will also be reviewed by the Driver Improvement Program and may be subject to longer prohibitions. If an N driver receives a driving prohibition, his or her 24-month Novice driving period will start over after the prohibition ends.

These consequences are a good start to deterring and punishing drivers who drive dangerously. But we must never forget that the consequences of distracted driving go far beyond the financial cost. The value of a human life cannot be overstated.

ICBC produced an excellent, heart-stopping series of short ads about distracted driving, which you can see below:

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