Economy

BC to hike distracted driving penalties by $740

BC to hike distracted driving penalties by $740”

About 12,000 drivers have more than one distracted driving ticket over a three-year period.

The insurance hike is on top of existing distracted-driving fines, which doubled in 2016 to $368 on a first ticket, as well as four penalty points on an insurance record.

"Taking action to improve safety and penalize risky behaviours benefits all British Columbians and is another step in the right direction", says Attorney General David Eby in a news release.

Attorney General David Eby announced Monday that the province will designate distracted driving "high-risk", meaning that two distracted driving tickets over three years could net drivers a $2,000 penalty.

About 12,000 drivers in British Columbia have multiple distracted-driving offences over a three-year period. "Today, we are taking action to curb the behaviour and improve safety for all B.C. road users".

Government will issue directions regarding the changes to both ICBC and the B.C. Utilities Commission and the changes would be in effect for convictions beginning March 1, 2018.

When fully implemented, the changes will result in about $3 million to $5 million in additional premiums collected annually.

Drivers who get caught checking their cellphone and being distracted behind the wheel will soon get hit with higher insurance penalties.

According to the government, more than 25 per cent of all auto crash fatalities in B.C. occur due to distracted driving.

The government plans to use the money to offset the pressures on ICBC's overall basic insurance rates.

ICBC applies driver risk charges over and above regular vehicle insurance, so people will get billed a few days before their birthday regardless of whether they own or insure a vehicle, the government said in a news release.



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