British Columbia is Cracking Down on Distracted Drivers

British Columbia is targeting distracted drivers with the introduction of strict penalties including significant fines. As one of the leading causes of fatal accidents on B.C. roads, the need for a zero-tolerance policy toward distracted driving has been demonstrated.

Statistics show that driver distraction was the third leading cause of fatal accidents in B.C. between 2008 and 2012. In an effort to keep the province's residents and roads safe, aggressive penalties and insurance premium increases have been put into place. Find out how you stand to be affected.

B.C.'s No-Tolerance Approach to Distracted Driving

As of early 2018, British Columbia is taking a zero-tolerance approach to distracted driving. With an average of 78 deaths per year in B.C. caused by distracted drivers, the province's shift towards taking a hard stance makes sense as they try to protect residents and keep the roads safe.

What Constitutes Distracted Driving?

As a general rule, anything that takes a driver's attention away from the road is considered a distraction. From conversations with a passenger to using hand-held electronic devices, the range is broad. Some of the most common causes of diverted attention behind the wheel include:

- Smartphones used to call, text, email, or access navigation applications

- Onboard satellite navigation systems

- Hand-held music players

- Eating and drinking

- Personal grooming including brushing hair, shaving, and makeup application

According to research, drivers are unable to process roughly 50 per cent of the visual information that surrounds them when using electronic devices which, given the prevalence of smartphones in our society, is a concerning statistic. Additional findings indicate that approximately one-quarter of motor vehicle collisions and accidents are caused by driver distraction.

The Implications of Distracted Driving

The way to approach the implications and consequences of distracted driving are two-fold. When it comes to British Columbia laws under the Motor Vehicle Act, failure to abide by the rules will result in hefty fines and a significant increase in insurance premiums. Repeated infractions may lead to license suspension and lengthy driving prohibitions.

For the victims of an accident caused by a distracted driver, the implications go beyond unpleasant fines. In the moment that it takes for a driver to answer a phone call, reply to a text message, or change a song on their playlist, another person's life has the potential to be changed forever. The cost of distracted driving is significant and often results in:

- Catastrophic injuries including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and permanent disability

- Loss of life either immediate or as the result of an injury sustained from the accident

- Whiplash, chronic pain, and fractures

- Loss of earning capacity and enjoyment of life

Getting Help After A Distracted Driving Accident

After an accident caused by a distracted driver, it is imperative to get experienced legal support. Depending on the severity of an accident, injuries may not present themselves immediately and failure to account for this could result in decreased benefits and compensation. Navigating insurance claims as the victim of a distracted driving accident requires an understanding of the complex rules and regulations and a commitment to working towards achieving the best possible outcome.

A skilled personal injury lawyer will have extensive experience handling distracted driving cases. They will help determine how the accident has impacted the daily life and future prospects of a victim and will leverage their knowledge to ensure that their client's best interests are being protected.