New Penalties for Using Phones While Driving in BC
As of October 20, 2014, changes to the Motor Vehicle Act come into effect that will penalize drivers caught talking on a hand-held device while driving. Below is a list of existing enforcement practices as well as new ones that will be enforced starting October 20th:
- Driver penalty points will be increasing from zero to three for people who are caught talking on a hand-held device while driving (includes such things as watching a DVD, programming a phone’s GPS, and/or operating hand-held audio players while driving)
- Penaltiy points will be combined with the existing $167 fine for this infraction (which will be consistent for penalties already in place for people caught texting and driving)
- Penalty points will remain on a person’s driving record for five years and can result in further penalties, including prohibitions from driving
In 2013, police issued 51,200 violation tickets to drivers who were using an electronic device. Statistics recorded between 2009 and 2013 show that on average, each year 88 people have been killed due to inattention or distraction while driving each year, compared with 105 for speeding and 86 for driving affected by alcohol or drugs.
For more information about this legislation, please see A Phone in Hand = New Penalty Points for Talking while Driving by the BC Trucking Association (October 9, 2014).
Tia Chisholm, HUB International TRANSPORTATION
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