Province announces fine increases for distracted driving, excessive speeding

A $175 ding for four points today will jump to $210 effective Thursday

Fines for excessive speeding, impaired driving and distracted driving are increasing by 20 per cent effective Thursday, Nov. 1, the provincial government announced Tuesday afternoon.

Two programs will be affected by the changes in particular: the Driver Risk Premium (DRP) and the Driver Penalty Point (DPP) premium.

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DRP infractions are charged annually to drivers convicted of excessive speeding, two or more distracted driving violations, impaired driving convictions, roadside suspensions or prohibitions. Drivers could pay for the same offence multiple times, as the DRP depends on a person’s driving record in the last three years.

The DPP premium is a penalty for collecting four or more points from traffic violations. The premium amount depends on the total number of points accumulated in a 12-month period.

Fines currently charged under the DPP premium range from $175 for four points to $24,000 for 50 or more points. The 20 per cent increase going into effect on Thursday will see those go up to $210 for four points and $28,800 for 50 or more points.

Penalties will increase by 20 per cent again on Nov. 1, 2019, to keep in line with previous increases in basic premiums, according to the province.

“Reckless drivers put others at risk, and they’re contributing to the rise in crashes we’re seeing on our roads,” attorney general David Eby said in a news release. “To help make our roads safer and hold people accountable, we’re bringing in higher penalties for drivers who engage in dangerous behaviour behind the wheel.”

The DRP and DPP are insurance penalties drivers must pay to ICBC in addition to the fine they must pay for the original violation. A driver will only be charged under one of the programs each year, whichever penalty is the highest.

Drivers who do not pay their DRP or DPP penalty cannot get a new driver’s licence or purchase vehicle insurance through ICBC, and will be charged 19.6 per cent in interest after 60 days without payment. Drivers can reduce or eliminate the penalties by surrendering their driver’s licence for some or all of their billing period.

Revenue generated from these penalties will help offset overall basic insurance premiums so that safer drivers are not paying for the risky driving decisions of others, the province said.

Currently, there are about 66,000 drivers who pay one of these penalties.

The DRP and DPP are separate from Autoplan insurance premiums. The penalties are billed even for people who do not own or insure a vehicle.

Going forward, penalties will match any changes to the basic insurance premium. Based on the increases, ICBC expects to collect $26 million in penalties in 2019, $32 million in 2020, and $36 million in 2021 for the fiscal year running from April to March.

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