Distracted driving results in the death of 78 British Columbians each year.  In the face of the ICBC financial crisis, Attorney General David Eby has announced that he will move to designate distracted driving as a high-risk behavior, similar to impaired driving and excessive speeding under ICBC’s driver risk premium program.  This will result in a significant increase to the financial penalties faced by repeat distracted driving offenders.

AG Eby rightly pointed out that distracted driving is contributing to higher insurance rates for all drivers and is an unnecessary cause of death and mayhem on BC roads.  The proposed changes which will go into effect on March 1 will result in British Columbia having among the highest penalties in Canada for distracted driving according to the Canadian Automobile Association.  The change will also result in an additional $3 million to $5 million in premiums collected annually by ICBC, relieving some of the financial pressure that ICBC is currently experiencing.  Mark Blucher, ICBC’ s president and CEO is quoted in the AG’s press release as saying the following:

Ultimately, the pressure on our rates all start in one place – more crashes.  We hope this change will further discourage drivers from engaging in this extremely dangerous behavior, while also ensuring that high-risk drivers pay more for their insurance, while relieving the pressure on insurance rates for all drivers.”

You can read the full press release here.