As part of both a crackdown on distracted driving and a financial restructuring of the Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC), B.C. Attorney General David Eby has directed ICBC to make distracted drivers responsible for causing a crash pay for several significant costs, including own auto repairs, medical expenses, as well as any lawsuit settlements, CBC News is reporting.
The proposed ICBC change would essentially void parts of distracted drivers’ insurance coverage in a collision, which the auto insurer currently pays for.
Rich McCandless, a former B.C. public servant who has written several papers on ICBC’s finances, agrees with clamping down on distracted driving. However, he believes the potential change would raise a lot of questions around enforcement. He also sees a problem in the legal expenses the province could take on.
“There’s a lot of subjectivity that comes into [determining whether someone is driving distracted]. With impaired driving you blow [into a breathalyzer] and you get the reading — it’s much more cut and dry.”
There’s going to be a major incentive [for at-fault distracted drivers] to seek legal opinion and dispute [their loss of coverage] in the courts, which is contrary to what the government is trying to do with reducing the current dependence on lawyers in the system.”
If ICBC’s research into the change determines it is a desirable option, the Attorney General believes it could be implemented within a year.