Victoria/Fraser Valley – The Government of B.C. will work to designate distracted driving as a high-risk driving behavior under the ICBC Driver Risk Premium program.
This means a driver with two distracted driving tickets in a three-year period will see their total financial penalties rise to as much as $2,000 ― an increase of $740 over the existing penalties. This is in addition to their regular insurance premium.
Distracted driving is a factor in more than 25% of all car crash fatalities in B.C., killing an average of 78 people each year. Currently, there are about 12,000 drivers in British Columbia that have multiple distracted-driving offences over a three-year period.
When fully implemented, the changes will result in about $3 million to $5 million in additional premiums collected annually, which will be used to offset ICBC’s overall basic insurance rate pressures, benefiting drivers around the province.
“B.C. already has some of the toughest distracted-driving penalties in Canada and these changes make our rules even tougher,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. “In the continuing fight against distracted driving, even a single death is one too many.”
- The changes to high-risk driving behaviour require changes to the ICBC Basic Insurance Tariff. Government will issue directions regarding the changes to both ICBC and the B.C. Utilities Commission and the changes would be in effect for convictions beginning March 1, 2018.
- The Driver Risk Premium charges are separate from Autoplan vehicle insurance premiums and are billed even if the individual does not own or insure a vehicle. For example, currently two distracted driving tickets in one year will cost approximately $1,256. With this change, the cost will be approximately $2,000.
- As is the case today, drivers with multiple distracted violations in any one year will continue have their driving record subject to automatic review, which could result in a three-to-12-month driving prohibition. Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) drivers will also continue to face intervention after a first distracted driving offence and a possible prohibition of up to six months.
- Distracted driving relates to those drivers caught using a hand-held electronic device while behind the wheel. In other instances of distraction or inattention, police also have the ability to issue violation tickets for those offences, such as driving without due care and attention.