Distracted drivers face new penalties in British Columbia
Distracted driving could soon be the number one killer on province’s roads
With the ubiquitous use of smartphones, it should come as no surprise that distracted driving is becoming an increasing menace on British Columbia’s roads and highways. New penalties introduced in October 2014 are designed to help combat the hazard, according to the Vancouver Sun. In addition to the current fine, drivers in British Columbia can now be slapped with demerit points for activities like talking or texting on a cellphone while driving.
New demerit points
British Columbia, like most provinces, already had fines in place against distracted driving before the new penalties were announced. That fine, which remains unchanged, currently stands at $167. Since October 20, however, drivers also face the prospect of suffering three demerit points if caught driving while distracted.
Demerit points can become costly for drivers, especially for those who get more than one citation. For example, drivers with six demerit points, which would now only take two distracted driving citations to accumulate, will be hit with a $300 penalty premium in addition to their two fines. Those penalty premiums can go as high as $24,000 for drivers who have 50 points or more. Furthermore, demerit points can eventually lead to a driver’s license being suspended.
As the Globe and Mail recently reported, the dangers of distracted driving continue to grow despite penalties and increased law enforcement efforts. Last year, distracted driving was responsible for 77 deaths on B.C.’s roads and highways, which is only slightly behind the leading cause of road fatalities- speeding – which led to 78 deaths. However, those statistics might actually underreport the true scope of the problem since it can often be difficult to establish whether distracted driving played a role in a fatal car crash.
While talking and texting on cellphones are the most commonly cited instances of distracted driving, other behaviours also cause drivers to take their eyes off the road. Watching movies, putting in GPS coordinates, eating, drinking, applying makeup, and even just talking to fellow passengers are all dangerous forms of distracted driving that can lead to accidents.
Car accident claims
While the new penalties against distracted drivers may entice some motorists to put their phones away and to focus on the road, the sad fact is that many drivers will likely continue to drive distracted and thus place other motorists at risk.
Anybody who has been injured by a distracted driver should contact Tell Del and speak with one of the Tell Del team. Tell Del can advise how to deal with your injuries, how to make a claim and how to deal with the complicated claims process so that you recover what is due to you.
BEFORE YOU TELL ICBC. We can help you right now. Before you talk to ICBC, contact us. Call 604-689-2626 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday or 604-TELL DEL (835-5335) after hours.