British Columbia wants distracted drivers to pay for their own repairs

Published: April 6, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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The government of British Columbia wants to take a tougher stance against distracted drivers and has tasked the provincial public insurance provider with helping. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has been instructed to find a way to make distracted drivers pay more for covering the cost of collisions.

B.C. Attorney General David Eby says insurance coverage held by motorists with a distracted driving conviction should be limited after a collision. Distracted drivers would then have to pay for their own auto repairs and settle claims from the accident.

The proposal would have two significant effects. Firstly, it would help the province tackle the growing problem of distracted driving and second it will continue to help the financially troubled ICBC. The insurance company will lose of $1 billion after its fiscal 2017 results and the provincial has been seeking ways to reduce costs without increasing auto insurance rates by the recommended 30%.

“There’s a lot of subjectivity that comes into [determining whether someone is driving distracted]. With impaired driving you blow [into a breathalyzer] and you get the reading — it’s much more cut and dry,” McCandless told CBC News.

“There’s going to be a major incentive [for at-fault distracted drivers] to seek legal opinion and dispute [their loss of coverage] in the courts, which is contrary to what the government is trying to do with reducing the current dependence on lawyers in the system.”