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October 28, 2017 3:37 am

Public Wants Distracted Driving Fines Boosted

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 @ 9:21 AM

Prince George, B.C.  –   Fines for distracted driving in B.C. may be boosted and further sanctions added..

Attorney General  and Minister of Justice, Suzanne Anton   says the  consultation  has reached the  midway  point,  but  she says  about 90% of those who  have added their voice to the consultation  so far are concerned and want to  see the fines  increased, and  more than  just  fines or penalty points.

“One of the things that is crystal clear so far, is that people think the fines are too low” says Anton.  The current fine  for distracted driving is a t$167 dollar ticket.

She says  the government is looking at the possibility of greater sanctions for  repeat offenders, possibly  immediate roadside  suspensions or vehicle impoundment. ” I can tell you this is something we are seriously looking at  for distracted driving, the question is, at what point  should a vehicle be impounded,  on a first offence or only  on subsequent offences? And what would be the right  length of impoundment?”

Anton says  while  wanting to hear from all British Columbians,  only 5% of the responses  have come from  Northern B.C. even  though  more than 17% of the  fatalities associated to distracted driving  happened  in Central and Northern B.C..

Last year,  88 people died in B.C.  in  crashes  where distracted driving was  a factor.

Currently, B.C.’s  fines  for  distracted  driving in B.C. are the second  lowest in the country and what the Government  wants to do is  figure out what level of fines  or penalties  would change people’s driving behaviour.

Feedback on the consultation wraps up  July 16th,  the information will be analyzed and  possible changes could come  within months.

You  can  submit your thoughts to the government’s website



Taking away the phone might make people more aware of the problem. Repeat offenders lose the car then too for awhile.

Personally I think the Government has screwed up royally when it comes to licensing younger drivers, and the way they try and stop distracted drivers.

Drivers should be able to get a fully qualified license at the age of 16 if they pass all the attendant tests, the same as everone else has done for the past 75 years. Adding all sorts of restrictions to drivers is just another intervention in peoples lives from Government that they can do without.

Furthermore we have laws on the books that cover impaired drivers, driving without due care and attention, dangerous driving, criminal negligence, etc; and we do not need a whole new series of fines and associated restrictions because of distracted driving.

Distracted driving is just a fancy way of saying driving without due care and attention, and that is the charge that should be laid. People should be required to go to court if necessary to fight the charges, and pay the appropriate fine after conviction.

The BC Government has transferred the justice system to the streets, given Police the ability to use discretion in laying charges, and basically makes money using a fine system. We need to go back to using the courts for what they were designed for. If it costs us a few bucks in the short term so what.

Has the Government any information that would indicate the higher fines etc in other Provinces have been a success?? Has it changed peoples behavior?? If so give us some examples.

Vehicles should have a signal blocker.. The only time you can use your phone is when the vehicle is in park. Everyone knows the dangers of distracted driving..so what are car companies doing..making it easier to text/talk and drive by making the vehicles wifi now….

People still make the decision to use their phones while driving..make it not worth it.. Make it $365. A buck for each day of the year..as for leap year keep it at 365..give them a break :)

I agree with most of what has been said above. Though I cannot agree a vehicle signal blocker. i.e. a passenger using the phone – question of need? Debatable!
However, IF a driver ‘is distracted’ while driving and is involved in an accident, that driver should be automatically be deemed at fault – unless it is clearly the other persons fault.

Palopu, you are off base and out of sinc with what is being discussed here. We do not need to clog up the court system more than it is. Big fines, demerit points, licence suspensions and vehicle impoundments are the answer to this problem of distracted driving. The fines for the first infraction have to be significant enough that most people will really feel the effect of the fine, i.e. $750. and 3 points. For a 2nd offence the fine should be doubled to $1,500 with an automatic 90 day licence suspension coupled with a 30 day vehicle impoundment and an additional 6 points. A 3rd offence should be an automatic 1 year suspension, a fine of $5,000. and a 6 month vehicle impoundment. Demerit points would not be required because ICBC would by this time be sending notice that before you can get your licence back you’ll have to take a safe driving course.

P Val a signal blocker or cell phone jammer are both illegal in Canada so that will not happen sadly although I do agree with you on making it so signals cannot reach your device until your in park

What I would like to see for fines

As to penalty first time offence $360 and 4 points
Second offence fine and points doubles
Third offence licence taken for 3 days vehicle taken for 5

I have been first or one of the first on scene for many accidents here in town and by and far the biggest cause of these accidents involves an electronic device

Make the fine something that will get peoples attention… $167 doesn’t do it….
nor does 3 points
add a zero to the fine.. and double the points…make it drive with undo care and attention ( 6 points) and $1670 fine …that is just to start and double it for the second offence and jail for the 3rd….. and I am not talking 1 day either.

and if you happen to cause an accident you lose licence minimum 1 year and have to put the “N” decal back on your car for 5 years..

injure someone 2 years in jail and licence suspended 5 years

kill someone 10 years and never drive again

who cares if you lose your job, you didn’t seem to care when you were driving distracted…

Distracted driving does indeed fall into the category of driving without due care and attention. However, the advent of *smart* phones has posed new challenges. Some people believe that they can drive while talking on the phone and still be in complete control of all the aspects of this kind of multi tasking. The evidence of course is clearly indicating that splitting the attention of a person this way is dangerous, because the brain’s attention is switched back and forth between the two tasks. So while it is attending the one it is not fully attending the other, even if just for fractions of seconds. That is all it takes to cause an accident.

Car manufacturers are competing with each other by adding more and more visual and auditory gadgetry to dashboards. That is a bad idea, yet our governments do not object. Why not?

We need to focus on all aspects of driving and all driving infractions. We seem to have a culture where:

– it is ok to not use your signal lights
– it is ok to turn from or into the incorrect lane
– it is ok to eat a meal while driving
– it is ok to park wherever you want, in no parking zones and handicapped parking zones, even if you aren’t handicapped
– it is ok to drive with burned out headlights or taillights
– it is ok to drive with your pet on your lap
– it is ok to routinely drive over the speed limit

So, if it is ok to do all of these things and more, seemingly without any fear of consequences, why do we think that people won’t use their cell phones while driving?

I believe that we have more than enough driving laws already on the books. Perhaps it’s about time that our law enforcement agencies start to enforce all driving laws instead of just a few politically correct ones? If we want to change our driving culture, we shouldn’t be selective in what laws we enforce and what laws we choose to ignore! We should enforce all the rules of the road!

Hart Guy I agree there are a lot of other driving infractions that need to be addressed….

What about all the electronics that come installed in vehicles these days, touch screen navigation and such? How many people are involved in accidents with head down paying with that stuff?

Prince George. The Government study on distracted driving a number of years ago showed that people we just as distracted by using blue tooth phones, etc as they were using hand held devices. The distraction comes from the conversation not from the device. Even though they were fully aware that there was no difference, they only made hand held devices illegal to use while driving. Why???

RD Honey. Not using the court system for what it was designed for is cop out. The Government save money on court costs, police costs, etc; by using the fine system, and in addition probably makes money on the fines.

The Government also screwed up the impaired driving laws and tries to keep people out of jail by fining the hell out of them. This saves them court time, ;police time, incarceration costs, etc; however it doesn’t actually solve the problem, much like distracted driving.

We have a law on the books that gives you an automatic 14 days in jail if you have a conviction on a second impaired driving charge. The Government gets around this by changing the charges to driving over .05 or whatever and assessing a fine, thus keeping the perp out of jail, plus collecting money.

As in all things in life just follow the money.

Here is something we have not disussed: How distractive is it when you are driving in heavy traffic (or in any traffic) while having a ‘heavy’ discussion with your spouse or your kids, or any other passenger? In some cases that type of distraction may be BIG as compared to talking on the cell phone. But the cell phone use did not seem to be such an issue until TEXTING came onto our scene.

I know of a certain car which came to a house nearby for about 8 years with the same burnt out left headlight – until the driver sold it or traded it in! He/she arrives with a new one now!

Palopu, you ought to ask the government why it allows hands-free! I agree that it is not the device but the conversation, be it texting or talking!

Perhaps it has something to do with profits, as a car that has a higher price makes more money for the manufacturer and the dealer.

Hart Guy: You have pretty well the right idea.

The govt asking us what we want our fines to be jacked up to is a bit ironic isn’t it?
They should ask us how much we want our taxes lowered as well.

Dumbfounded. By asking us they can then increase the fines and say it is the will of the people. They generate more revenue to offset their policing costs and people continue to have accidents, etc;

We need to have these people to be charged with driving without due care and attention and have them go before a judge. They can get a lawyer, plead guilty or not guilty, etc;. This gives then exposure in the public eye, and give the judge an opportunity to explain to them the seriousness of the offence,.

After attending court a few times perhaps they will get the message.

I’m not a lawyer… but what happened to innocent until PROVEN guilty? Giving police authority to impound a vehicle with out a judge present to pass that judgment seems to me be against the legal system. While I agree with stiff penalties, after proven guilty by a court of law, it seems that no court proves this guilt while parked on the side of the road. It’s a slippery slope in my opinion to grant this authority to the police who are law enforcers not judges…

I agree with choicewindmill and palopu that this is an issue of due process. Those that want to give away the due process of others would be the first to complain when their due process was disregarded.

Issues like this bring out the zeolots in people, and apparently politicians. We have sufficient laws on the books to deal with any distracted drivers and if properly charged a judge can always increase the penalty appropriately.

We already have police using spy glasses at the road side looking in our vehicles… its no longer about how the vehicle is operated, but now its about what is going on inside the vehicle and with this it brings increased intrusions into peoples private lives as police can more selectively choose based on personal discrimination’s, or curiosities (possibly vendetta’s), completely unrelated to the distracted driving that is used to enable this more intrusive push into peoples private lives for a more unaccountable police state that is becoming exempt from due process.

choicewindmill there is an appeal period now I would imagine it will continue.

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