EDITORIAL: Smartphones driving many to distraction

ICBC, province hope even steeper distracted driving penalties sends stronger message

Our technologically advanced and dependent society has created a monster, by instilling in people a perceived need to stay in touch with family, friends and the world around them on an almost constant basis.

Today that electronic link is predominantly made through one’s smartphone. While the increased and instant access can have many advantages, it has created a habit in many people to respond, or at least glance at who has communicated with them, even if that happens while driving or sitting at a traffic light.

RELATED: B.C. to hike distracted driving penalties by $740

Having done their best in recent years to raise awareness about the dangers of doing so, through advertising, enforcement campaigns and fines, the province and the ICBC ramped up their message this week by announcing steeper fines for distracted driving.

On Monday, B.C. Attorney General David Eby said distracted driving will soon be designated “high-risk,” which means that two such tickets in a span of three years could net drivers a $2,000 penalty. Distracted driving infractions include using an electronic device while driving, and emailing or texting while driving – drivers must be safely and clearly pulled over out of traffic, parked with the vehicle not running. Both infractions currently come with a $368 fine and four points, which adds $175 onto the total.

Get caught more than once after March 1 and you’ll face a fine into the thousands, over and above whatever ICBC deems your appropriate insurance rate should be. It’s an expensive lesson and certainly shows how serious the province is about removing this potential cause of serious crashes.

“Distracted driving continues to put people in danger and [puts] significant pressure on insurance rates for all drivers,” said Eby, adding that it needs to be treated on par with impaired driving and excessive speeding.

With distracted driving a factor in one-quarter of all car crash deaths in B.C., and about 12,000 drivers having been issued more than one such ticket over a three-year period, it’s clear that a heavier message needs to be sent.

Just Posted

B.C. needs Disability Act: Victoria council

Council motion asks province to make B.C. barrier free

Victoria Police meet Aboriginal activists for afternoon flick

The group gathered as part of ongoing series of events supporting reconciliation efforts

Sooke hires two additional firefighters

Ben Temple and Grayson Kerr began Nov. 6

EMCS Sr. Girls volleyball team making Sooke history

Team headed to compete in Island championships for first time in 15 years this weekend

Dance Victoria Nutcracker contest returns to Oak Bay village

Find Mr. Nutcracker and Tommy Tempo now through Nov. 26 for chacne to win ballet tickets

100,000 bulbs shine bright for Lights of Hope

St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver launched its annual campaign to raise funds for equipment, research

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Weekend hit list: Things to do in Greater Victoria

FRIDAY Find Mr. Nutcracker and his cousin Tommy Tempo as they visit… Continue reading

Uptown’s Christmas Tree Light Up is Saturday night

Uptown assembling 54-foot-tall tree for fifth annual Light Up

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Port Alberni resident robbed with weapon, thieves steal thousands

Most of the stolen currency is in Canadian $100 bills. The police investigation is ongoing.

Federal funding to combat guns, gangs and opioid crisis

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said illicit drugs are often main cause of guns, gangs violence

Most Read