British Columbia

Distracted driving penalties: should B.C. increase them?

The B.C. government is asking the public if it should roll out tougher penalties for distracted drivers, with options including higher fines, impounding vehicles and suspending licenses.

B.C.'s $167 fine for distracted driving is the second-lowest in Canada, higher only than Quebec

The B.C. government is considering increased penalties for distracted driving. (CBC)

The B.C. government is asking the public if it should roll out tougher penalties for distracted drivers, with options including higher fines, impounding vehicles and suspending licences.

The province is running a four-week online consultation that so far shows British Columbians are "very concerned" about distracted driving and support tougher penalties, said Justice Minister Suzanne Anton.

"People don't like their licence to be suspended, nor do they like their vehicles to be impounded. They're both pretty significant sanctions for people," she said Tuesday.

"The piece we're interested in right now is the public's feedback on what exactly would change people's driving behaviour."

Currently, B.C.'s fine of $167 for distracted driving is the second-lowest in Canada, higher only than Quebec at $154.

Ontario, the highest, recently increased its fines for distracted driving to a maximum of $1,000.

Those wishing to participate can visit the government consultation site or send a tweet to @RoadSafetyBC using the #distractedbc hashtag, until July 16.

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