B.C. driver who nearly hit cop car had 12 prior distracted driving charges: police
Published Saturday, March 12, 2016 10:05AM EST
Police in B.C. are asking drivers to "leave their phones alone," after a distracted driving incident revealed one motorist's "shocking" history of convictions.
According to an RCMP tweet, one driver in the Lower Mainland has racked up 12 convictions for using an electronic device while driving. The incidents took place in Vancouver, Richmond, White Rock and Surrey.
Now, the motorist has been involved in a 13th incident, police say.
Officers discovered the record of repeat offences when they pulled the driver over for nearly colliding into an RCMP cruiser.
As a warning to others on the road, the Richmond RCMP tweeted an image of the driver's record, along with the caption
"#Distracted driver nearly collided with @RichmondRCMP officer. Shocked to find these 12 priors #LeaveYourPhoneAlone"
According to the provincial government, an estimated 9,500 B.C. drivers are thought to be using a hand-held device while driving at any given time.
Distracted driving is the second leading cause of death on B.C. roads, accounting for nearly a quarter of all fatalities.
But police say the record of repeat offences shows that some motorists aren't getting the message.
"We would hope that people wouldn't use their phone in the first instance. Certainly, after the second instance we hope that somebody would get the message. To see numbers that high, that's disappointing," Vancouver Police Department Sgt. Randy Fincham told CTV Vancouver.
The current fine for distracted driving in B.C. is $167, one of the lowest in the country.
Convicted drivers also face three "penalty" points on their driver's licence, and those with more than three penalty points are required to pay a penalty point premium each year.
Meanwhile, Ontario residents convicted of distracted driving receive a $400 fine, plus a victim surcharge and court fee. And as of July, distracted drivers in Prince Edward Island face between $500 and $1,000 in fines.
Fincham says the cost of a conviction may not be enough to deter some B.C. drivers, however they should consider the far greater potential risks.
"Certainly somebody may think they can absorb that cost, but what's the cost of taking another life? What's the cost if they hurt another person?" he said.
The B.C. government underwent a public consultations on distracted driving in last summer, and Justice Minister Suzanne Anton has previously said the province plans to increase fines at some point in the future.
With files from CTV Vancouver