Editorial: New distracted driving penalties not enough

Public Safety Minister Mike Morris announced the province’s new, tougher stance on distracted driving Monday, with the introduction of a new fine system to take effect June 1.

Starting next month, the penalty for distracted driving will increase from $167 to $543  ($368 fine, plus $175 in penalty point premium). Drivers will also be assessed four penalty points (up from three, currently).

A second offence within a year will cost $888 and it will be $1,600 for a third offence.

Two tickets in a year will also trigger an automatic review by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles that could result in licence suspension.

Morris said the new penalties put British Columbia near the top, in regards to distracted driving fines for Canadian province.

The question is, will it work?

Only time will tell, but we have our doubts.

Monetary fines have never been great deterrents. Then again, the threat of a suspension doesn’t seem to be entirely effective either, when looking at the weekly RCMP report, and seeing every other entry being an impaired driving investigation.

People continue to drink and drive, because they don’t believe they will get caught.

The same can be said for those who use their cellphones while driving. And Bluetooth is not the answer. Talking hands-free is only marginally less distracting, if at all. (If you doubt that, try your Bluetooth while driving in an unfamiliar city – you’ll either lose your train of thought, or miss your turn.)

We’ve said it before, and it warrants repeating. The only way to properly address the distracted driving issue, inasmuch as cellphone use is concerned, is to install cellphone disabling devices in every car, before they leave the factory – a device that makes any cellphone inoperable as soon as the motor is engaged.

The technology is there. You can turn on your living room lights from 3,000 miles away, if you have the correct aapp.

The challenge would be getting the auto industry and the communications industry on board with the process. That won’t be easy.

We imagine the whole mandatory seatbelt thing was not easy either. But it went through – and lives were saved because of it.

–Terry Farrell

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A donated towel warms a merlin chick. Photo supplied
MARS Moment: 2021 shaping up to be a record-setting year for animal rescues

Submitted by Jane Sproull Thomson Special to Black Press With the pandemic,… Continue reading

File photo of Gord Johns during World Oceans Day.
Courtenay-Alberni MP outlines priorities for federal budget

Universal pharmacare, affordable housing and Pacific wild salmon are some of the… Continue reading

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations in Gold River area

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Volunteers sort through bottles and cans during Saturday's fundraiser for hospice. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Valley hospice holds drive-through bottle drive

Bike team is fundraising for the annual Cycle of Life tour on Vancouver Island

The Village of Cumberland is applying for a UBCM grant to help streamline development application processes. Black Press file photo
Cumberland looks to streamline development

“This looks like the best thing we’ve ever applied for.”

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A volunteer disinfects a historical Mohabat Khan mosque ahead of the upcoming Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)
For Canadian Muslims, second pandemic Ramadan is a time of hope and sadness

Many members of the association are trying to find ways ‘to help people stay connected to one another’

South Surrey farmland, March 2020. The province’s crackdown on secondary residences sparked protests that have the NDP government engaged in a lengthy rewrite of its legislation. (Tracy Holmes/Peace Arch News)
B.C. NDP now wants to keep even ‘non-farmers’ on the land

‘Grandfathering’ of second residences extended again

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. The Vancouver Canucks say 25 players and coaches have tested positive during a COVID-19 outbreak that involves a variant of the virus. It is now the biggest reported outbreak in the NHL this season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks’ return to practice pushed back as player added to COVID protocol list

COVID outbreak has led to eight games being cancelled

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

Most Read