B.C.’s Attorney General says all the stops are being pulled out to achieve a cultural shift on the issue of distracted driving. B.C.’s Attorney General says all the stops are being pulled out to achieve a cultural shift on the issue of distracted driving.
David Eby says distracted driving has passed drunk driving is the leading cause of crashes and crash related injuries.
Eby, who says everything is on the table, was asked if the province is considering immediate roadside prohibitions for distracted drivers.
“Absolutely. We are escalating the penalties and consequences of distracted driving to try and get the message through to this hard core group that just will not put their phones down. The same thing happened with seat-belts and drinking and driving. We need a cultural shift and what ever it is going to take to get there.”
Eby also confirms despite changes to address ICBC’s fiscal woes drivers will be facing rate hikes.
“I suspect there will be some rate increases for drivers as we get things under control.”
How much of an increase is coming?
“My goal is to keep rate increases to either inflationary or near inflationary because B.C. already has very high insurance rates. The goals of the reforms that I announced this past week is to get ICBC’s finances under control so it can deliver affordable insurance to British Columbians. I think it will achieve those goals but as you know it will take a little bit of time to get there.”
Eby says more changes are coming to the crown corporation including implementing some measures that will result in administrative savings.
And that is not all.
“Something called subrogation for example, which is where if you had personal disability insurance and you were injured in an accident that insurance would pay first and ICBC would pay second. That is a standard process in other provinces with public insurance. It is not standard in B.C. that will be a savings of a near $100 million. It is bits and pieces here and there to get this billion dollar monster under control.”
ICBC is facing a $1.3 billion net loss this fiscal year.
Earlier this week the province announced ICBC would place $5500 caps on minor injury payouts, increase accident benefits, and establish an independent dispute resolution process for some injury claims.