A driver stopped in Abbotsford this morning (Tuesday) pleaded with a police officer to give him a break when he was pulled over while talking on his cellphone.
There was no break to be had, especially when the officer pulled up the man’s record and discovered he had been issued six prior tickets for distracted driving.
Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said the driver has been collecting the tickets since 2011.
He said when the motorist was stopped at the Five Corners intersection in Abbotsford, the man said: “I don’t have any excuses. Any chance I can get a break?”
Each of those prior offences cost the man $167 – for a total of $1,002 – and no penalty points. But under tougher new laws that took effect at the beginning of this month, this most recent ticket for distracted driving is now $368 plus $175 for four penalty points, for a total of $543.
The number of penalty points – and hit to the wallet – increase with each subsequent offence. For example, a second offence within 12 months drives the cost up to $888.
Experienced drivers who incur two or more infractions within 12 months will have their driving records reviewed, potentially resulting in a driving prohibition of three months to one year.
Police hope these news laws will diminish the number of repeat offenders, such as the man stopped in Abbotsford today and a Richmond woman who lost her licence in April after her 14th distracted driving charge.
MacDonald said it’s too soon to say whether the tougher laws are having an impact on driving habits.