A lot of unnecessary accidents have been caused throughout Canada over the past few years thanks to distracted driving. In 2014 alone, 66 deaths and 630 serious injuries were attributed to distracted driving. As a result of these preventable accidents, a number of new laws hoping to keep drivers off their phones are being enacted across Canada. You know you should avoid using your device while driving, but is it actually illegal in British Columbia?
Distracted Driving Laws in British Columbia
As of June 1, 2016, the fine for distracted driving will cost $368 and four penalty points, resulting in a total cost of $543 for the first infraction! Don’t forget that penalty point premiums increase after every offense – the first offense features a $175 fine and the second offense features a $520 fine. Ten offenses in one year will result in $14,560 in penalty point premiums!
Distracted driving is considered a “high-risk” driving offense, and repeat offenses will cause an automatic review of the drivers’ record with the possibility of a three-to-12 month prohibition on driving. Additionally, drivers with a GLP (Graduated Licensing Program) license face intervention and a possible six-month prohibition.
So what if you use your smartphone to play your music or navigate your route? According to the Motor Vehicle Act of 2010:
“Drivers with a regular license are permitted to use hands-free cell phones and devices that can be operated with one touch or voice command, provided that the device is securely fixed to the vehicle or worn securely on the driver’s body.”
“Distracted driving, like drinking and driving, is entirely avoidable, yet too often has devastating consequences. Since 2010, when we introduced tough, immediate sanctions for drinking and driving, we’ve seen a dramatic decrease in alcohol-related traffic fatalities. By deploying tough new sanctions for distracted driving, we want to see our drivers, cyclists and pedestrians get home to their families safely as we take another step towards reaching our goal of having the safest roads in North America by 2020.”
– Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
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