Tough road ahead for distracted drivers

By Greg Fry
March 2, 2018 - 11:01am

KAMLOOPS — The province, ICBC and police are taking aim at distracted drivers to help reduce the carnage on B.C. roads.

The tougher penalties coincide with Distracted Driving Month and include beefing up ICBC's Driver Risk Premium (DRP) program. 

Moving forward, the DRP program will include convictions for distracted drivers who continue to put road users at risk by using electronic devices while driving.

"Drivers with two convictions for the use of electronic devices while driving over a three-year period will now face added and higher premiums," reads an ICBC news release. "They could pay as much as $2,000 in penalties — an increase of $740 over the previous penalties — in addition to their regular vehicle insurance premium."

A three-month pilot project exploring how technology can help combat distracted driving is also underway. ICBC is working with 139 volunteer drivers who will share feedback and their experiences with a small telematics device installed in their vehicle which blocks the use of their cell phone when the participant is driving.

And starting this month, police will begin to test new distracted driving scopes with further abilities to capture dangerous driving behaviours. Police will be testing the units for usability and effectiveness in all weather and traffic conditions.

ICBC says distracted driving behaviours claim 78 drivers lives in B.C. each year. In the Southern Interior, it claims 30 lives a year.

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