Province takes aim at distracted drivers with increased premiums

By Greg Fry
November 6, 2017 - 10:56am

KAMLOOPS — Yet another reason to leave the phone alone while behind the wheel of your vehicle.

The government of B.C. has announced it will work to designate distracted driving as a high-risk driving behaviour under the ICBC Driver Risk Premium program.

This means a driver with two distracted driving tickets in a three-year period will see their total financial penalties rise to as much as $2,000, an increase of $740 over the existing penalties. This is in addition to their regular insurance premium.

"Once implemented, this change will treat distracted driving as the serious high-risk behaviour that it is; one that is on par with impaired driving and excessive speeding," says Attorney General David Eby. "Taking action to improve safety and penalize dangerous behavious benefits all British Columbians and is another step in the right direction."

The government says distracted driving is a factor in over 25 per cent of all car crash fatalities in B.C., killing an average of 78 people each year. Currently, the Province says there are about 12,000 drivers in B.C. that have more than one distracted driving offences over a three-year period.

The changes will go into effect March 1, 2018 and once fully implemented, will result in about $3 million to $5 million in additional premiums collected annually. That money will be used to offset ICBC's overall basic insurance rate pressures.

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