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6-in-10 British Columbians have seen distracted driving in last 4 weeks: poll

Data shows drivers using mobile devices is increasing yearly
Data shows that nearly 40 per cent of car crash injuries in B.C. are caused by distracted driving, and most British Columbians think the penalty needs to be increased. (Stock Snap/

Sixty per cent of British Columbians saw a distracted driver on the road in the last four weeks, according a new B.C.-based poll.

These results are up 16 percentage points from the previous poll conducted in April 2022, Research Co. said in June.

Eighty-two per cent of those surveyed in the Fraser Valley reported sightings, followed by 66 per cent in northern B.C., 62 per cent on Vancouver Island, 59 per cent in southern B.C. and 57 per cent in Metro Vancouver.

READ MORE: Kelowna traffic enforcement ramping up amidst rise in distracted driving

Currently, the punishment for distracted driving for a first-time offender in B.C. is a $368 fine and four penalty points—equal to $214 in the insurance penalty premium.

“Drivers with two convictions for using an electronic device while driving in a three-year period will face as much as $2,000 in fines and penalties,” ICBC’s website reads.

More than half of British Columbians feel the current fine is fair, while 29 per cent say it’s too low and 12 per cent say it’s too high.

“Most British Columbians who voted for each of the three major parties in the 2020 provincial election believe it is time to implement steeper fines for distracted drivers,” Research Co. president Mario Canseco said.

Since 2022, there’s been support for three possible penalties for a driver caught using an electronic device. Sixty-seven per cent of the province is in favour of seizing the electronic devices of a repeat offender, and 62 per cent support the idea of doubling the fine. Fifty-six per cent are in support of suspending distracted drivers for one year.

In March of this year, ICBC and the B.C. RCMP launched a month-long distracted driving awareness campaign to try and curb the act.

There has been no further announcements regarding increasing penalties or fines as of yet.