NEWS - Penalty Points for Distracted Driving Behaviours

province of bcI'm sure that you have heard by now that the BC government has announced penalty points to go with a violation ticket for talking on a handheld device while driving. This new penalty, which also covers infractions like watching a DVD, programming a phone’s GPS, and operating hand-held audio players, is being combined with the $167 fine already in place and is now consistent with the three points and $167 fine currently given to drivers for texting.

Do you think it will make a difference? Perhaps we can compare it with speeding. We started with a fine and points, added an escalating fine scale and then started to take away vehicles for a period of time if the speed reached 40+ km/h over the limit. Look around yourself the next time you go for a drive. Drivers who refuse to follow the speed limit are still a common as ever. I suspect that this change is not going to make a large difference in the prevalence of distracted driving behaviours.

I suspect that drivers have decided that there is little risk in disobeying. The chances of getting caught on an average day are low and so far, no collision has resulted. Don't let this become your default setting!

The whole idea, as I understand it, between applying penalty points against the Driver's License, or merely assessing a fine, is that with points there's a danger of losing one's driving privilege if too many are accumulated.

Without this, we would have a system that allowed wealthy buggers to flaunt every rule in their Ferraris and Porsches whilst the lowly rest of us would have to behave in our used Toyotas ...

Police forces in general, underfunded and overworked, have shown ever stronger tendencies to rely on ICBC to penalize drivers who are involved in collisions, based on insurance premiums.  But that's no good - insurance increases affect the vehicle owner, they do nothing to penalize the driver, or remove them from the road if necessary; provided they can afford the fine.

So to my mind, the first thing we need to examine (and have ICBC provide statistical data on) is just how many drivers are losing their license these days due to too many demerits - or has all of this merely morphed into a cash grab that eventually gets skimmed into the pockets of the government when they bank all that additional ICBC profit?