OUR VIEW: Distracted drivers may soon get message

We say these new penalties can't be put into law fast enough

Texting drivers are a plague on our roads

We applaud the provincial government for strengthening penalties for distracted driving. Nothing worse than looking in your rear view mirror and seeing a motorist hurtling toward you as they’re looking down, eyes transfixed on their phone. Correction — what’s worse is getting rear-ended by the idiot, and getting injured or killed.

Texting drivers are a plague on our roads, no better than drunk drivers. In fact, it’s the leading cause of death on British Columbia’s roads.

Effective June 1, each distracted driving offence will carry a base fine of $368 — up from $167 — and will also tack four penalty points onto the offender’s driving record.

First-time offenders will be slapped with a minimum of $543 in financial penalties. How that works is, the $368 will be combined with escalating ICBC penalty point premiums starting from $175 for the first offence and climbing for additional clownery within a 12-month period.

Repeat offenders — and this is great — will pay the $368 fine plus $528 for a total of $888 in penalties on a second offender, escalating with each additional offence. And repeat offenders will also have their driving record reviewed, possibly resulting in a driving prohibition of three to 12 months.

Considering distracted drivers killed 66 people and injured more than 630 on B.C.’s roads in 2014 (last year’s figures are not yet available), we say these new penalties can’t be put into law fast enough.

— The Now

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