Starting today, offenders will be hit with a base $368 fine, more than double from the previous $167 ticket, which was one of the lowest in Canada.
And it’s not just your wallet that will take it a hit if you’re caught on your phone while behind the wheel.
Distracted drivers in the province will now also be dinged with four penalty points, which is all it takes to incur an additional $175 insurance premium.
But wait there’s more!
fOR repeat offenders caught driving distracted a second time within 12 months will face $888 in financial penalties, then $1,600 for a third.
New drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program face intervention after a first distracted-driving offence and a possible prohibition of up to six months, says the ministry.
“Distracted driving is now considered a high-risk driving offence, which makes it equivalent to excessive speeding, driving without due care and attention, and driving without reasonable consideration,” the provincial government said in a press release.
“Repeat offenders will have their driving record subject to automatic review, which could result in a three-to-12 month driving prohibition.”
Last weekend over the Victoria Day holiday, May 21-23, B.C. RCMP provincial Integrated Road Safety Units handed out 264 tickets — up from 199 last year at the same time — for distracted driving, driving without due care and attention, or driving without reasonable consideration.
According to CAA, drivers engaged in text messaging on a cellular phone are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near crash event compared with non-distracted drivers. (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2010)
Distracted drivers are 3 times more likely to be in a crash than attentive drivers, reports Alberta Transportation.