Should repeat distracted driving offenders get their devices seized?

No pity for distracted drivers

Do you think distracted drivers with multiple offences should get their devices taken away?

According to a new poll from Research Co., 70 per cent of British Columbians believe electronic devices should be seized from repeat distracted driving offenders.

The poll found that 55 per cent of BC residents have seen someone talking on a cell phone or texting and driving within the last month.

"Residents of Southern BC (64 per cent) and Vancouver Island (also 64 per cent) are more likely to have recently seen a driver texting or chatting on a cell phone, compared to 61 per cent in both Northern BC and the Fraser Valley, and 49 per cent in Metro Vancouver," says Research Co. "Just over half of British Columbians (52 per cent) believe the current fine for distracted driving is 'about right', while 30 per cent consider it 'too low' and 14 per cent deem it 'too high'."

The answers vary by age category, as only 18 per cent of BC citizens aged 18-34 believe the current fine for distracted driving is too low. That number grows to 29 per cent for people aged 35-54, and climbs even higher to 38 per cent of citizens aged 55 and over.

"When asked about other possible penalties for drivers caught emailing, texting, or using an electronic device in British Columbia, more than half of residents (54 per cent) agree with suspending the driver for one year," says Research Co. "Support is higher for two other penalties: doubling the current fine to $1,240 (59 per cent) and seizing the electronic devices of repeat offenders (70 per cent)."

Research Co. even dove into how respondents answered based on their political parties they voted for, showing the left-leaning poll takers are more in favour of harsher penalties.

"British Columbians who voted for each of the province’s major parties in the last election are in favour of tougher legislation to curtail distracted driving," says Mario Canseco, president of Research Co. "While 50 per cent of BC Liberal voters endorse doubling the current fine, the proportion rises to 57 per cent among those who voted for the BC New Democratic Party and 66 per cent among those who cast ballots for BC Green Party candidates."

The current punishments for distracted driving are a $368 fine and four penalty points on your insurance penalty point premium, which is the equivalent of $252. This totals out to a $620 penalty for a first-time infraction.

These poll results are based on an online study that was conducted between Dec. 14-16, surveying 800 adults in BC.

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