Police issuing a lot of distracted driving tickets, a month after fines increased

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A disheartening look at the lack of change in behaviour exactly one month after fines for distracted driving went up in BC. Police say they are still handing out a lot of tickets.

For the month of June, Vancouver Police issued almost 500 which is about the same compared to when penalties were lower. “It is a bit surprising. I think with the increased fines I would’ve expected to see a decrease in the number of tickets we handed out but that’s not the case so far — time will tell,” says Constable Brian Montague.

He feels officers can only do so much — they can ticket, they can do targeted campaigns, but really the onus is on the driver.

“Some do it because they think they can get away with it and others do it because they truly believe that what they’re doing isn’t dangerous. And our goal as police officers is to educate them, to let them know it is dangerous and if educating doesn’t work then we’ll ticket them.”
He feels distracted driving needs to get to a point where it’s socially unacceptable to help change attitudes.

“It’s up to society to change their behaviour. It’s up to the person in the passenger seat to look at the driver when they pick up their cellphone and tell them, ‘Either you put the cellphone down or pull over and let me out of the car because I’m not going to ride with you.'”

“We may not be able to change everyone’s behaviour, but we are changing the behaviour of some and if we can reduce the number of collisions then we’re doing our job. We’d like to eliminate them, but if we didn’t do any enforcement at all I think you’d have a lot more chaos on the roads, obviously,” adds Montague.

After promising to make changes for more than a year, the provincial government finally doubled fines to $368 and raised the number of penalty points from three to four on June 1st.

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