Who cares about distracted driving on B.C. roads and highways? | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Who cares about distracted driving on B.C. roads and highways?

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June 16, 2015 - 2:35 PM

BRITISH COLUMBIA - If you have an opinion on the distracted driving laws — and we’re sure you do — you will now have a chance to share them with the B.C. government.

The province is considering raising penalties for distracted driving but will first hold a four-week public consultation through a new website and social media through July 16. It asks residents if the current fine of $167 and three penalty points is enough to deter distracted driving.

Should texting garner the same penalty as talking on a hand-held device while driving? How should we treat distracted drivers who are New drivers? What about repeat offenders? Should distracted driving be treated like impaired driving with vehicle impoundment? All these questions are being tackled in the consultation.

Distracted driving legislation was introduced five years ago and in the fall the province increased the penalty points for using hand-held devices while driving from zero to three, in addition to the fine.

B.C. has the second lowest fines in Canada. In other provinces the fines go as high as $579, though Ontario recently passed legislation to increase maximum fines to $1,000.

In addition to the website you can also Tweet @RoadSafetyBC using #distractedBC.

Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton says the goal is to make B.C. roads the safest in North America by 2020 and protecting people from distracted drivers is one of the steps in reaching that goal.

Last fall Vernon RCMP gave media a chance to try a distracted driving course and then earlier this month RCMP in Vernon went undercover, using a tactic that garnered national attention, to catch distracted drivers.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infonews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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