According to ICBC, distracted driving is the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C. and one of the most common distractions behind the wheel is a mobile electronic device. On average, 81 people die every year in crashes where distracted driving is a contributing factor, with distracted driving being attributed to about one quarter (27%) of all car crash fatalities in B.C.
When I was young, drinking and driving was commonplace. It certainly wasn’t acceptable, but it did occur. Now its not acceptable. According to ICBC, 90% of B.C. drivers surveyed rated texting while driving as being more risky than drinking and driving.
The use of hand-held personal electronic devices while driving has been banned in B.C. since 2010. The current penalty for using a hand-held electronic device while driving is $167.00 and three penalty points. The law applies while you are stopped at a red light or slowed in traffic.
As of June 1st, the distracted driving fine rises to $543.00 for the first offence. You risk driving prohibition for repeat offences. Second offence will cost you $888.00 and a third in the same year, $1600.00.
Time will tell if fines will help change driver’s habits. When it comes to automobiles, driving, texting and/or talking on the phone, there will likely always be people who think the law applies to everyone else. This is evidenced by the fact that RCMP road checks still routinely catch people who don’t bother to do up their seat belt. Pass it on!