Technology and Changes in the Driving World: Distracted Driving in B.C.

Wikipedia describes distracted driving as:

“The act of driving while engaged in other activities—such as looking after children, texting, talking on the cell phone or to a passenger, eating, or reading—that take the driver’s attention away from the road.”

All distractions compromise the safety of the driver, passengers, bystanders and those in other vehicles. The police have been given directives to enforce the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) since Jan. 1, 2010. At that point, only hands-free cell phones and devices that require one touch to activate will be permitted. Drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) will not be permitted to use hands-free phones in addition to other prohibited activity.

What Are the Consequences?

The new financial penalties for distracted driving will be calculated using the base fine of $368 combined with escalating Insurance Company of British Columbia (ICBC) driver penalty point premiums, which start at $175 for the first offence and climb for any additional offence within a 12-month period.

Effective June 1, 2016, distracted drivers are subject to the following:

  • Each offence will include the base fine of $368 – up from $167 – and will add four penalty points to a person’s driving record.
  • First-time offenders will face a minimum $543 in financial penalties.
  • Repeat offenders, upon a second offence within 12 months, will pay the $368 fine plus $520, for a total of $888 in financial penalties, which escalate further for any additional offence.

Further stiffening these consequences, distracted driving is being elevated to the threshold for “high-risk” driving offences, making it equivalent to excessive speeding and driving without due care and attention. Repeat offenders will also have their driving record subject to automatic review, which could result in a three-to-12 month driving prohibition. Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) drivers face intervention after a first distracted driving offence and a possible prohibition of up to six months. There will be longer prohibitions for repeat offences. The superintendent of motor vehicles also has discretion to prohibit drivers based on referrals from ICBC or police.

Cell phones can be included in the permitted devices category by using a blue tooth device such as a GPS device, ear piece to give hands free abilities or mounting a holder for the cell phone. Some cell phones have voice activated dialers.

Contact North Shore Driving School Today!

Keep in mind while driving that the longer the call the more distracting it is. Remember that it is always better to let voicemail take the call. Don’t put you or anyone else at risk by answering all texts and phone calls once you get to your destination. Contact North Shore Driving School today for a GLP driving course in the North Shore area or call our Car Division on 1821 Lonsdale Avenue for senior refresher courses in the North and West Vancouver area.