The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) says it will introduce a new auto insurance rate system that will reward customers who participate. The program will focus on giving discounts to drivers who avoid using their phones will driving.
Distracted driving is illegal, but many drivers will still use a cellular device behind the wheel. ICBC’s initiative sits alongside another announcement that will see financial penalties increased for distracted driving offences.
Attorney General David Eby says 200 volunteers are already participating in the discount program, which uses an on-board tracking device that tracks smartphone use.
“ICBC has gone through a public call for technologies, they’ve evaluated those technologies and they are identifying one or two of the best contenders for a pilot which we expect to be rolling out in the months ahead, in early 2018,” the attorney general said Monday.
“I’m really excited about that, especially for new drivers, to really drive home to them to establish those good behaviours of not using their phones while driving.”
The pilot program is a further effort from ICBC to address rising distracted driving numbers in British Columbia. 25% of all road fatalities in the province are caused by distracted driving, an average of 78 fatalities per year.
“The increase in fines we hope will send a message that distracted driving is on par with impaired driving and excessive speeding in terms of the death and destruction it causes,” he explained. “And we want people to stop doing it. Period.”
“This is part of a broader suite of measures we are looking at in terms of ensuring good drivers pay less and bad drivers pay more,” Eby added. “There’s work we’re doing right now on the whole points system for drivers generally in the province so it better takes into consideration people’s driving behaviours in terms of the insurance rates they pay.”