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Harsher distracted driving laws take effect June 1 in BC

Whenever a catastrophic motor vehicle accident occurs, there are multiple reasons why such an incident may have happened. While there are times that defects with the vehicle itself, or issues with the roadway are to blame, other times it is the actions of the driver. When a driver acts in a negligent manner it is possible a crash could be the outcome. Driving while distracted is one activity that could be deemed negligence.

Distracted driving is an issue throughout North America, including British Columbia. According to the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, each year 330 people are seriously hurt as a result of the activity. More than 60 drivers die because of it.

In an effort to keep distracted driving, and crashes from occurring, laws are in place throughout both Canada as well as the United States that prohibit this behavior. Generally, fines and sometime demerits are assessed when someone is caught engaging in the activity. Recently, it was announced that British Columbia will assess tougher penalties for those caught driving while distracted.

Those facing a first offence will be fined $543, up from $167. A second offence will incur a fine of $888 and the third offence, $1,600. In addition, the number of demerit points a driver will have on his or her licence will go up to four points. It is possible that repeat offenders could face a driving prohibition between three months to a year.

The changes will go into effect on June 1. Whether they will have an impact on the number of serious crashes that occur in the province remains to be seen.

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