(file photo)

Did you know a first-time distracted driving infraction could cost you $620?

Drivers caught emailing, texting, or using an electronic device while driving in British Columbia face not only a fine but four penalty points toward their insurance.

According to a new study by Research.co, most BC residents think these penalties aren’t harsh enough when it comes to distracted driving.

The online survey, which included a representative provincial sample, revealed that 46% of residents have witnessed a driver talking on a hand-held cell phone or texting while driving over the past month. 

Although the total number of residents who are detecting distracted drivers has dropped since 2020, down 9 points since a similar poll was conducted in December 2020, the poll showed residents believed the current penalties still might not be enough. 

According to the statistics, 56% of residents say the current fine for distracted driving in the province is “about right”, 24% say it is “too low” and only 15% consider it “too high”.

On Vancouver Island, 33% of residents believe the current penalty for distracted driving is too low. 

This opinion varies by area, with only 29% of Northern BC residents, 22% of Fraser Valley residents, 21% of Southern BC and 21% in Metro Vancouver residents agreeing.

More than half of British Columbians are in favour of different penalties for drivers caught distracted driving: suspending drivers, doubling first time fines and seizing electronic devices.

Across the province, 52% of residents support suspending drivers who are ticketed for distracted driving for a year, while 41% are opposed to this course of action.

In addition, 55% of the province’s residents are in favour of doubling the current first-time fine, a total of $1,240!

When it comes to seizing electronic devices of repeat offenders, 64% support the idea.

What do you think?

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