Stealing a look at Facebook or finishing a text while driving just got a lot more expensive in B.C. Drivers who get just two distracted driving tickets over a three-year period will now have to pay much insurance premiums, according to the B.C. government.
Drivers who would currently pay up to $1,256 a year in “driver risk” premiums will now pay $740 more per year, or nearly $2,000. That’s on top of regular vehicle insurance rates.
ICBC’s driver risk premiums apply to people who have two or more excessive speeding convictions, two or more roadside suspensions or prohibitions, or have been convicted of driving-related Criminal Code convictions.
Distracted driving now kills an average of 78 people a year in B.C. — more than impaired driving, according to ICBC.
In June 2016, the B.C. government raised fined for distracted driving from $167 to $368, and the penalty points rose from three to four. That means the fine for a first offence can be as much as $543.
Vancouver police handed out over 2,000 tickets this September during a crackdown on distracted driving. Some of their examples include a man who was ticked for talking on his cell phone, then got right back on the phone to be ticketed again; a driver who continued to text even though 10 motorcycle cops were beside her car; and another driver who was attempting to balance a laptop on her steering wheel.
Officers also encountered one man who was attempting to hide his cell phone inside a coffee cup with an opening cut out of the cup.