There’s a new $2,000 fine coming for distracted driving

Lindsay Kines - Times Colonist

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Distracted driving is becoming more costly

B.C. drivers caught talking on cellphones or texting behind the wheel will pay $740 in higher penalties for repeat offences, Attorney General David Eby announced this morning.

Drivers with two distracted driving tickets within a span of three years will now get slapped with driver risk premium charges in addition to other fines.

The total penalties will rise to about $2,000 – up from $1,256 currently, the government said.

The change will take effect March 1, 2018.

At present, a driver who gets two tickets for distracted driving pays $368 for each ticket plus $520 in penalty points for a total of $1,256. Under the new program, the same driver will have to pay a further $740 in driver risk premium charges for a total of $1,996.

ICBC applies driver risk charges over and above regular vehicle insurance, so people will get billed a few days before their birthday regardless of whether they own or insure a vehicle, the government said in a news release.

About 12,000 B.C. drivers have racked up multiple distracted driving offences in a three-year period. The government expects ICBC to pull in $3 million to $5 million a year as a result of the new penalties, the government said.

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