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

 

Just Posted

Film documents transformation of snowboarders, surfers

Former professional athletes forged deep ties with communities

Comox Valley Santa’s Workshop in need of bicycles for youngsters, gifts for teens

Santa’s Workshop, at 464 Puntledge Road (formerly the Red Cross building), is… Continue reading

Transitioning back into the world

Courtenay man had been living outdoors before starting Sally Ann program

A cuddle and a coffee: Six Island towns named among Canada’s most cozy

Sidney, Campbell River, Courtenay, Parksville, Tofino and Ucluelet crack Expedia’s top 40

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Mid Island Farmers Institute discusses fleece at November meeting

Are you a lover of wool and local fibre? Interested in raising… Continue reading

Comox Valley Nature invites the public to learn about nature photography

Comox Valley Nature is hosting a public lecture on photography. Join Terry… Continue reading

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Most Read