Justice minister urges feedback on distracted driving penalties

B.C.'s Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton is urging the public to weigh in as her ministry looks at revamping distracted driving penalties.

B.C.’s Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton is urging the public to weigh in as her ministry looks at revamping distracted driving penalties.

“Distracted driving is the second-leading cause of death on B.C.’s roads,” Anton said during a press conference Tuesday.

Of the thousands of people who have provided feedback since the campaign began two weeks ago, 90 per cent said they are concerned about stopping distracted driving.

However, most of the public responses are coming from urban centres, Anton said as she encouraged people in the North and Central part of the province to provide feedback.

Seventeen per cent of deaths caused by distracted driving occur in the North and Central part of the province, she added.

So far people are saying the fines are too low, Anton said, noting B.C.’s fines are the second lowest in Canada.

“At $167, some people are saying the fines are the cost of doing business. Some people think the fines should be as low as $250, some $500 and some as high as $750.”

In reviewing the penalties, the ministry is also wondering if immediate roadside vehicle impoundment is the way to go or if license suspension is the answer and what the length of those impoundments or suspensions should be, Anton said.

The consultation runs until July 16, 2015. To add your voice, visit gov.bc.ca/distracteddriving or tweet @RoadSafetyBC using the #distractedbc hashtag.