Public Safety Minister Mike Morris uses a driving simulator to show the effect of texting and driving.

Distracted driving ticket will soon cost $543 and up

Cost for first texting and driving offence $543, up to $888 for a second within one year and licence may be suspended

A first offence for checking your phone while driving will cost B.C. drivers $543 when new penalties take effect June 1.

The fine for distracted driving goes up from $167 to $368, and drivers will also be assessed four penalty points, triggering another $175 charge. The combination results in a total penalty of $888 for a second offence within a year of the first.

Public Safety Minister Mike Morris said the new fines put B.C. near the top of distracted driving fines for Canadian provinces, and two tickets in a year will also trigger an automatic review by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles that could result in licence suspension.

Public consultation over the past year has found support for a tougher approach.

“A lot of the input that we had indicated even higher penalties than that,” Morris said.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone said the public awareness campaigns have not convinced enough people of the dangers of trying to use mobile phones or other devices without hands-free services.

“Imagine trying to drive the length of a football field while you’re blindfolded,” Stone said.

Central Saanich Police Chief Les Sylven, president of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police, reminded drivers that being at a stop light or stuck in a traffic jam does not mean the distracted driving penalties don’t apply.

NDP public safety critic Mike Farnworth said the government didn’t need to take a year to increase one of the lowest distracted driving penalty systems in the country, and giving the superintendent discretion over multiple repeat offenders doesn’t send a clear enough message.

“Frankly, I think that if you get more than three in the course of the year, there should be no ‘may’ about it, you will lose your licence,” Farnworth said.

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach staff moving forward with report for cinema, brew pub

Councillor makes motion to include The Old School House proposal

Bowser residents protest marine sewage outfall plan

Veenhof and staff endures harsh criticisms at public information meeting

Qualicum Beach society goes to bat for insect eaters

Two bat houses built to monitor population in Heritage Forest

Parksville reopens portion of wetland

City undertakes review, remediation of liability concerns

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Canada’s G7 goal on development: luring private capital to poor nations

G7 finance and international development ministers convene in British Columbia next week

Congressional leaders to review information on Russia probe

Trump said he will “demand” that the Justice Department open an investigation into whether the FBI infiltrated his presidential campaign

Canadians stranded in Cuba after plane crash returning home

Montreal-based travel agency says hundreds of Canadians who were stuck in Cuba since a plane crash last week are returning home

As summit looms, North Korean media return to angry tone

North Korean media are stepping up their rhetorical attacks on South Korea and joint military exercises with the United States

Maple Leafs lose another executive after parting ways with assistant GM

The Toronto Maple Leafs say club and assistant general manager Mark Hunter have mutually agreed to part ways.

SAR scaling back in Kilmer search, but friends will keep looking

Search for 41-year-old Cobble Hill dad hits six-day mark

Rachel Notley to skip premiers conference to focus on pipeline deal

Kinder Morgan has ceased all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline project until it receives assurances

B.C. tech company will power Uber Elevate

Moli and Uber announce research and development partnership.

Most Read