Distracted driving penalties could be hiked in B.C.

The B.C. government is aiming to increasing penalties for distracted driving before the end of the year.

B.C. government looking at raising fines and points for those ticketed

B.C. looks at raising fines for those who text behind the wheel 2:21

The B.C.government is aiming to increasing penalties for distracted driving before the end of the year.

Currently the fine for distracted driving in B.C. is $167 dollars — the second lowest in Canada.

The announcement comes a day after news that a Vancouver man racked up 26 tickets and fines of $4,300 in a four-year period.

In 2012, distracted driving accidents led to more deaths than were caused by drunk driving in B.C., said Attorney General Suzanne Anton.

There were 81 deaths caused by distracted driving, and 56 caused by drunk driving.

Anton said she is looking at a number of approaches to the problem, including raising fines and points on driver's licences.

"I think the fines will make a difference and I think the points will make a difference. Fines plus points is much more damaging to a person's record, so that's another piece that I'm having a close look at."

Premier Christy Clark says she's looking forward to the changes.

"I don't want to prejudge the outcome of that, but I think it's worthy of a good hard look, because if that's the reason many many people are losing their lives, we have a responsibility to address it."

While the basic fine for misuse of a cellphone or hand-held electronic device is $167 in B.C., police can more than double that if they find you’re driving erratically as a result. Distracted driving can also involve eating while driving or even having a dog in your lap.

MAP: Distracted driving penalties across Canada



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