British Columbia’s top cop is looking to crack down on drivers who are caught looking at their phone instead of the road.
Minister Mike Morris is involved in public consultation on the issue and will look at more harsher penalties for distracted driving one year after the new penalties came into effect (June 1st, 2016).
Morris believes that data during this time period will determine if distracted drivers are learning from their offenses or if more criminal measures will need to be taken. “If our trend doesn’t go downwards and if we still have the number of fatalities and serious injuries that we do have related to distracted driving, then of course we’re going to have to look at what that next step should be,” he said. “If we have the multiple offenders who are committing offenses over the course of a year or a few months, those are the stats I want to focus on.”
A suggestion gaining a lot of support is the impoundment of vehicles for repeat offenders, but Morris says that will go into effect only as a last resort. “That’s a pretty serious sanction because a lot of people need their vehicle to get back and forth to work, take their kids to school and I see that only coming along if these people don’t realize the seriousness of their actions in distracted driving,” he said. “If we do that, it will only be as a last resort to get their attention and hopefully they will learn from that.”
As of June 1st of 2016, a first time distracted driving ticket will cost offenders $543. A second sitracted driving ticket within 12 months will be another $363 fine and a third offense will cost a driver more than $3,000.