Higher fines for distracted driving in BC go into effect on June 1st

New distracted driving penalties effective tomorrow in B.C. mean higher fines, more penalty points and possible driving prohibitions for repeat offenders.

The B.C. government announced earlier in May, it is taking a stronger stand against distracted driving. Those caught texting or talking on their cellphones while behind the wheel in BC will have to pay a minimum of $543. This is the sum of an initial $368 fine – an increase from the existing fine of $167, and the $175 cost to pay off points against the licence.

The number of penalty points per infraction is now four – up from three.

On the Victoria Day weekend, RCMP say they handed out 264 tickets to distracted drivers. That number is up from the same weekend in 2015 when 199 tickets were issued.

Repeat offenders will pay the same $368, but will receive escalating penalty points for each offence within 12 months:

  • 2nd offence: $368 + $520 in penalty points = $888
  • 5th offence: $368 + $3760 in penalty points = $4,128
  • 10th offence: $368 + $14,520 in penalty points = $14,888

Repeat offenders will also face an automatic licence review, which could result in a driving prohibition of three to 12 months.

Public Safety minister Mike Morris says if someone gets two or more tickets in a year they could face a driving ban.

There will be an automatic review by the Superintendent’s office if someone receives two distracted riving tickets within one year.

Between 2010 and 2014 police officers throughout B.C. issued more than 42,000 tickets to distracted drivers.

Distracted driving penalties