NWT Adds Licence Suspensions for Distracted Driving; BC Penalties to Increase



Don’t use your iPhone or any other electronic device while driving in the Northwest Territories (NWT) because you can have your driver’s licence suspended for an extended period of time. The new penalties are part of new distracted-driving legislation that was approved last week.

Although there is no information about when the changes will go into effect, it is worth noting what the distracted-driving legislation brings. If you are caught for the first time using (holding, operating, or touching) your iPhone or any other restricted electronic device while driving, you may face only a fine, but the new legislation doesn’t forgive the second, third, of fourth offence in a two-year period: your driver’s licence can be suspended for 24 hours, a week, or 30 days, respectively. And if you are caught in a school or construction zone, well, the fines can be really hefty.

Not only the N.W.T., but B.C. is also after drivers who are using their cellphones: Justice Minister Suzanne Anton promised to implement tougher penalties in the coming months.

Currently, B.C. has the lowest distracted-driving fines in Canada, with three penalty points and a $167 fine. That’s about to change, according to the minister, as she is looking to increase both the driver penalty points and fines.


  • xxxJDxxx

    These governments had better be careful. These laws get too ridiculous and there is going to start to be public pushback. Taking someones license (and in a lot of cases leading to someone losing their job) for TOUCHING their phone?? give me a break.

  • Bailey

    Really? People just need to drive and not use their phones. It’s pretty simple. People can push back as much as they want, it’s for their own safety at the end of the day.

  • Kael

    Just one of the many reasons we need to have self driving cars on the road now.

  • Bad touch = cell phone or other electronic device.
    Good touch = built in digital screen in my car that in some cases has cellular capability?
    I’m most definitely for improving safety on the roads but the standards currently in place seem inconsistent no?

  • macmurray

    Put your damn phone down while you’re driving! It’s that simple. Most cars have hands-free these days so you can still make calls. Everything else can wait, can’t it? This isn’t a seatbelt law where the only person hurt is you (and your family when they lose you or have to take care of you when your disabled), distracted driving effects everyone. Just like drinking and driving, we encourage both of these behaviors by being soft on punishments. Driving is a privilege, not a right. If you want to endanger the public at large by not following the rules and engaging in behavior that is proven to be dangerous then you deserve to have the book thrown at you. If you lose your job, too f**king bad! You should have followed the rules, you didn’t, so deal with the consequences.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Sorry but I disagree. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime. there are plenty of ways people can be distracted and plenty of ways in which peoples driving can be affected (too tired, too emotional, stressed out). It comes down to the individuals ability, their degree of focus, and the degree of care with which they operate their vehicle. You want to charge someone who’s caused a crash that’s totally fair, but this new pre-crime fine for checking the time or changing the song at a stop light is ridiculous. You are potentially ruining someone’s life over nothing.