The provincial government of British Columbia continues to take a tough stance against distracted drivers. On March 1, 2018, the law will authorize higher insurance rates against offenders through the ICBC Driver Risk Premium program.

Distracted driving describes behaviours that divert people’s attention from the road. Research studies have shown that people using electronic communication devices miss 50 percent of the visual information that they need to operate their vehicles. Primary sources of distraction include:

  • Texting
  • Selecting music or other audio
  • Conversing on a telephone, even hands-free
  • Engaging in personal grooming
  • Eating
  • Reaching for objects in the vehicle

The toll taken by drivers failing to pay attention has been mounting for years. B.C. officials calculate that an average of 78 people die in distracted driving crashes every year. Over 25 percent of deadly motor vehicle crashes result from distracted drivers.

At the Dick Byl Law Corporation, we see the devastation wrought by these preventable accidents. In addition to families losing loved ones, people suffer serious injuries and property damage. Financial costs add to the emotional price exacted by drivers who should have been watching the road.

In an interview with CBC News, the B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General said that distracted driving is now killing more people than alcohol-related accidents. Because of the seriousness of distracted driving, offenders face considerable fines. In B.C., the first citation costs a person $368 and adds four penalty points to a driving record. ICBC also charges first offenders an additional $175 premium.

Someone cited for using an electronic device behind the wheel a second time in a one-year period must pay another $368 and a second premium penalty of $520 to ICBC. The newest penalties will impose an extra Driver Risk Premium on people with two distracted driving convictions.

The Driver Improvement Program also takes notice of people with two convictions in one year. A review by the DIP could place a three to twelve month prohibition on a person’s driving privileges. For new or young drivers operating under the Graduated Licensing Program, distracted driving triggers a review after a single conviction. Young people tend to use electronic devices heavily and take more risks, and a single offence could impose a driving prohibition of one to six months.

If you’re a victim of a distracted driver, representation from the Dick Byl Law Corporation could improve your chances of collecting an adequate settlement. We only represent accident victims. Call our office for a free consultation today.