If you’re caught talking on a handheld device while driving in B.C., you’ll now be facing stiffer penalties.
The provincial government announced today that they are cracking down further on distracted driving.
Drivers caught talking on a cell phone while driving will now get three demerit points on their licence, as well as a $167 fine.
Previously, drivers busted talking on a cell phone received the $167 fine but no demerit points. Drivers caught texting while on the road have been receiving three demerit points and a $167 fine since the law came into force.
The provincial government says it’s necessary to toughen up distracted driving laws because people are just not getting the message.
“It’s clear that the $167 fine is not enough on its own, so we’re starting by targeting those people who are talking on a handheld device while they’re driving with more severe penalties,” says Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton.
“Ticket volumes show us that more drivers are ticketed for talking on an electronic device than for texting and driving, and so that is where we decided to start with the new penalty points.”
Distracted driving is the second-highest cause of fatalities on B.C. roads. The province says an average of 88 people are killed each year due to distracted driving.
In 2013, police issued 51,200 violation tickets to drivers who were using an electronic device. Police say many drivers still don’t understand that using a phone while at a red light is distracted driving and is subject to ticketing.