Distracted Driving Is A Big Problem In British Columbia.
Today, distracted driving is one of the largest problems on our roadways in BC and with summer around the corner, we only expect it to get worse. In fact, ICBC reports that distracted driving now claims more lives than impaired driving. That is why ICBC and the BC government are now cracking down on distracted driving even more than our already stringent laws.
A Harder Stance on Distracted Drivers
With the summer months ahead of us, it is more important than ever to put down the cell phone. Despite our already tough stance on distracted driving, distraction and inattention contribute to more than 25 percent of all crash fatalities right now. Despite a consensus that says that using a cell phone is risky while driving, 38 percent of BC drivers still continue to use them. Consequently, the province is taking an even harder line on drivers who continue to use their phones while driving.
The new distracted driving penalties will be increased as follows:
● In addition to the distracted driving penalty of $368, the offender will now be required to pay an additional Driver Risk Premium to ICBC.
● These will be imposed regardless of whether you are the owner of the car or not.
● Once the changes are implemented, the cost for two distracted driving tickets will go up to $2,000 from $1.256.
● Premiums will increase with each new offense and can result in driver prohibitions.
It’s time to brush up on the rules and regulations around cell phone usage in BC. According to the British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act, the driver of a motor vehicle may not hold, operate, communicate, or watch the screen of any electronic, hand-held device. This includes sending or receiving text messages, email, or answering any calls unless the device has hands-free capability.
Keep Your Hands Off the Phone
Hands-free means hands-free. You can only use your smart phone with Bluetooth capability, a wired headset or a speakerphone that can be operated with voice commands or one touch. The phone must be secured to the car or to your body before driving.
Not Even at a Light
The law applies to any time you are in control of a motor vehicle. This means that even while you are stopped at a light or in traffic, you cannot pick up your phone to text or call.
Learners or Novices
If you have an Learners or Novice license, you cannot operate any electronic devices when driving, whether hands-free or not.
Distracted driving can also include other behaviours besides cell phone usage. If you have been injured in an accident due to a distracted driver, get legal advice from a Kamloops, Kelowna, or Langley injury lawyer to discuss your rights. At Barapp Law Firm, we offer a no-cost consultation to discuss your rights after an accident. Call us today.