B.C.’s distracted driving penalty jumps to $543 June 1

$888 for a second offence and possible review by Superintendent of Motor Vehicles

New distracted driving scopes allow police to spot offenders 1.2 kilometres away.

The penalty for using a cell phone while driving just went up today.

Effective June 1, distracted driving offences will result in a $368 fine, and when the $175 penalty points premium by ICBC is added on for the four-penalty-point infraction, that means a minimum $543 fine for first-time offenders.

A second offence within a 12-month period drives the cost up to $888.

Just two weeks ago, B.C. Mounties unveiled a new weapon in their arsenal to catch offending drivers unaware: distracted driving scopes that allow them to see infractions up to 1.2 kilometres away.

The change in rules mean the province now regards distracted driving as a “high-risk driving offence”, on par with excessive speeding, driving without due care and attention, and driving without reasonable consideration.

Repeat offenders will have their driving record subject to automatic review by Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.

For new drivers, first-time offenders who are still driving under the graduated licensing program, face a possible prohibition of up to six months.

Judging from recent enforcement efforts, drivers don’t seem to be getting the message that using their cell phones is illegal.

Last month, officers from the BC RCMP provincial Integrated Road Safety Units doled out 264 tickets on Victoria Day weekend for distracted driving, driving without due care and attention and driving without reasonable consideration, up from 199 a year earlier.

In March, a road safety unit in Kelowna handed out 37 violation tickets for distracted driving in less than three hours.


Just Posted

B.C.’s north heats up to record highs

Bella Bella, Masset, Prince Rupert and the Cassiar Area all broke records

Special prosecutor appointed in Burns Lake mayor sex assault case

Luke Strimbold has been charged with numerous sex related charges

U.S. proposed steel, aluminum tariffs leave uncertainty for B.C. site

Rio Tinto has been operating in British Columbia for over 60 years, but tariffs cause fear

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

A frustrated Trump lashes out at special counsel Mueller

In a series of weekend tweets naming Mueller for the first time, Trump criticized the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election

B.C. teachers’ union to ask for higher salaries to help with shortages

B.C. starting teacher salaries are $10,000 to $15,000 lower than Ontario or Alberta says B.C. Teachers’ Federation president.

Few political staffers on Parliament Hill report sexual misconduct: survey

Sixty-five of the 266 survey respondents said they had personally experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment.

Experimental pot lab sprouting cannabis-infused drinks, new edibles

Nestled inside Canopy Growth Corp.’s sprawling marijuana facility outside Ottawa is a special laboratory

Federal committee to examine human trafficking in Canada

The Commons committee plans on holding hearings in Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

Most Read