BC Drivers to Get 3 Demerits for Distracted Driving, On Top of $167 Fine


The Province of BC announced yesterday they have upped distracted driving laws to now include three demerit points on top of existing $167 fines for those caught talking on their phones while driving.

The law also now applies to:

  • watching a DVD
  • programming a phone’s GPS
  • operating hand-held audio players,
  • texting on a cellphone

Demerits remain on your driving record for five years and can result in further penalties, including a ban on driving. If you have more than three demerits, your insurance premiums will increase, starting at $175. If you receive more than one distracted driving ticket in a year the penalty is $634 (two fines and $300 penalty for six points).

Eyes free

Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton had this to say:

“I’m very concerned that distraction in all forms is the second highest contributing factor in motor vehicle fatalities in B.C. It’s clear that the $167 fine is not enough on its own, so we’re starting by targeting those people who are talking on a handheld device while they’re driving with more severe penalties. Ticket volumes show us that more drivers are ticketed for talking on an electronic device than for texting and driving, and so that is where we decided to start with the new penalty points.”

Distracted driving is now the second leading cause of vehicle fatalities in B.C (after speeding at 105; drinking and driving at 86), as 88 people were killed due to distracted driving from 2009 to 2013.

Just don’t touch your phone when you’re in the car, or maybe start using Siri hands-free mode (even that can be distracting). Then again, if you can’t last at least 30 minutes without touching your phone in the car, you have a problem.


  • Silverjunkie

    Awesome. This should be in effect across the country. Too many people distracted instead of driving. In Alberta, all you see is people on their cell phones instead of driving.

  • Yeah with so many push notifications and such, it’s hard to ignore the phone. People need to change their driving habits, so many people staring at their crotches while driving, it’s scary.

  • sukisszoze

    I think distracted driving is the second leading cause of accidents after drinking driving. They should up the penalty similar to drinking driving.

  • matt

    Its after speeding, not drinking and driving. Read about this in the metro paper today

  • Speeding was at 105 deaths, drinking and driving at 86.

  • wah_gee

    sleep deprivation is just as bad as D&D (drinking and driving) and DD (distracted driving).

  • Mark

    I think they should CONFISCATE your vehicle, suspend your driving license for 3 months and fine you $10.000 !!
    Also, you should attend a special course on drive safely.
    Let’s make this happen, let’s start a petition.
    Stolp DRINKING while you driving, stop LISTENING TO THE RADIO while you driving, stop TALKING while you driving – NO MORE DISTRACTION

  • hub2

    The first part was borderline reasonable, but the rest was surely sarcastic.

    Why aren’t you also demanding that parents be banned from bringing their children (especially babies) in their car?

  • Mark

    Right, I forgot to mention that.
    Thank you for remind me.
    Also, no ADVERTISEMENT (especially those bright backlight panels) in the line of sight of drivers, they are extremely distracting.
    Car with large display and navigator should disable the DISPLAY over 25 KM/h – Only voice commands for navigation.
    Any other suggestion? Let’s make this happen!

  • James

    I realize that distracted driving causes accidents (particularly when it’s a new driver who doesn’t have experience), but let’s not kid ourselves: this is just another government tax. The government doesn’t see this as anything other than a new revenue stream. Especially this B.C. Liberal government. Don’t mean to get all political but the Campbell/Clark government has been especially bad about finding new ways to tax average people.

    PS Lol at the guy who says don’t listen to the radio while you’re driving. If that’s the new rule, better go and arrest every single person on the road except those of us with broken car stereos.

    In my opinion, the real biggest issue is those people (and there are a lot of them, including some of my friends), who drive around with headphones on. First off you can’t hear anything, which is a major safety risk. Other drivers, pedestrians, and especially emergency vehicles need drivers to be able to hear them, and you can’t do that when you’re wearing headphones. And, of course, these people are also the ones you see messing around with a portable music player while driving.

  • Shameer Mulji

    I guess for these people self-driving vehicles can’t come soon enough.

  • Mark

    Driving with headphones is against the Law in BC.
    You get fined big time!

  • Mark

    Portable music player should be allowed to be carried only in the trunk.

  • Mark

    Right! Shall we force people to show their “proof of sleep”?
    Sleep deprivation should be fined as the distracted drivers.

  • What would you suggest as an alternative deterrent to get people to stop looking at their phones while driving? While the fines may seem like a tax grab, it’s one way to make people pay the price if they choose to break the law.

    If you take a look around you at any red light or during rush hour, it’s so easy to spot people checking their phones and not paying attention to the road.

  • Mark

    Driving with possession of a mobile phone should be subject to an increase in your ICBC rate (unless the phone is secured in the trunk).
    It is statistically proved that a mobile phone owner will use his device at list 1.85 times every month while driving thus increasing risk of collision.
    On the other side a discount of 12% should be applied if you accept to drive with you mobile in the trunk.

  • FragilityG4

    No time displayed in the car — you won’t know you’re late. Only neutral colour cars on the road — bright colours are too nice to look at. All beautiful women must wear a mask of some sort to hide from potential learing men. No more street signs, stop signs and stoplights — too much to compute when approaching. All windows and roofs must be closed — fresh air is very distracting. Let’s get rid of it all!

  • Mark

    Let’s impound the car for 3 months and force offender to go to safe driving school at their expenses.

  • Mark

    I can sense sarcasm. Not cool. Not constructive.

  • Sven L


  • Unknown

    So I as an officer of the peace, should be allowed to fine single occupancy police officers who decide to drive while using there giant laptop and swerve all over the road, drive slow and are distracted. This is also a big issue as there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see an officer doing so in their car while driving.

  • xxxJDxxx

    most smartphones ARE portable music players. For me, it is the primary source of music in my truck.

  • xxxJDxxx

    This is absolutely ridiculous. personally I think people grossly overestimate the skill involved in operating a vehicle. It isn’t hard, at all.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Easy to say if you only drive once or twice a day. For some of us that are in and out of our vehicles ALL DAY LONG, making dozens of trips per day, having to stay in constant contact with work/clients and using our smartphones as our dedicated music players in our vehicles this represents a huge inconvenience and potentially a very expensive one. I’m not driving around texting, but do on occasion read/reply to a text or change the song at a stop light.
    To me the punishment doesn’t suit the crime. The fact that I could potentially lose my license, and thus my livelihood over something so benign seems ridiculous to me. This certainly will benefit ICBC though, wont it? They potentially save on payouts and create a new revenue stream for themselves AND they get to hide behind the guise of safety. Something many are more than happy to give up their rights for.

  • xxxJDxxx

    They should start equipping vehicles with a small camera, like a go pro or something similar. With LTE capability, these cameras can monitor the drivers eyes and log anytime a drivers eyes wander from the road, which then equates to a small fine from ICBC. We would all be SO MUCH SAFER!!

  • James

    The biggest distraction are those people with the SUPER BRIGHT HID headlights. Especially on the highway, I’ve had more than one time where I thought the car was high-beaming me and later I realized that’s just the way they are.

  • James

    I think that rather than writing tickets, the police should impound the phone for 72 hours. If you’re drunk driving, they impound the car. Let them impound the phone and you can come pick it up downtown at the police headquarters after 3 days.

    That would teach anyone a lesson. Even someone who can afford $167. But there’s no money in that, so of course our government will never do it.

  • Mark

    ICBC should rise the rate dramatically and add a $10000 fine for every collision.
    This way more and more people will use public transit.

  • Mark

    …and a detector for cellular signal activity, if cellular activity is detected then the vehicle license number will be notified to ICBC for a rate increase!

  • And sharks with…lasers!

  • Al

    Followed a girl down the DVP today who was texting non stop. During a stop n go stretch, I felt like getting out and smacking her, because she wasn’t keeping up.

  • erth

    so, this just says “texting while driving” is against the law as well. what about if you are testing while using siri? this is hands free, but you are still texting. what about if you have a driverless car? can you use a phone then? these laws are so archaic. why not just make cars illegal? they are the real problems, right?

  • erth

    oh yeah, why the bmw in the photo? do people who own expensive cars break the laws more? how about a picture of a ford focus?

  • The image is from Apple’s Siri Eyes Free page.

  • Steve

    Blutooth + Siri for texting will pretty much eliminate all what you have mentioned. As for changing tracks on your phone, just as long as it’s dash mounted (same as changing tracks on your car stereo), you’ll be fine. The law was implemented due to the amount of increased accidents (and deaths) due to idiots that text, and fumble with their phones while driving. If you had a family member or friend that was hit by one of these pricks, you’d understand.

  • Steve

    Police and emergency personnel (Paramedics, Firemen, etc.) are exempt as long as it’s duty related. I’ve never heard any incident that involved a PO or EP that got into an accident due to distracted driving, have you?

  • Mark

    Gary, I detect sarcasm…
    Keep in mind that a BLACK BOX with vehicle data is now mandatory for every new U.S. vehicle.
    Canada will follow soon… and ICBC will love this!

  • Mark

    …for same people driving a car require a lot of concentration.

  • BobShanty

    Ahh, what ever happened to the good ole days… keeping your eyes on the road, driving, listening to music and getting a hummer. Those days are long gone… sigh

  • Photo Model

    Radio is biggest cause of destruction and should be banned forever. This is just brainwash tool created by the corporations and the government .

  • Babs

    Well aren’t you a great Social Engineer

  • Babs

    Interesting, I find that since (OEM ones at least) they scatter less light due to the projector housing they are typically less distracting than regular reflector-based incandescent lights. I would prefer a car with projectors being in my rear-view mirror any day, or coming towards me.