Although there has not yet been such a case in Canada, some believe that a person sending a text may soon be held partially responsible for a distracted driving accident if they were aware the person they were texting was driving at the time.
One person who holds this view is Jordan Solway, general group counsel and vice-president of claim at Travelers Canada. While speaking with HuffPost Canada last year he cited a 2013 US court ruling made in a case in which an 18-year-old man hit a motorcyclist and his wife with his pickup truck in 2009. The accident caused the motorcyclist and his wife to both lose their left legs. It was revealed that about 25 seconds before the young man hit the couple, his girlfriend had sent him a text although she knew he was driving. As such, the girlfriend was also found liable for the accident. Mr. Solway believes that it might just be a matter of time before there is a similar ruling in Canada. Until then, a driver is solely responsible for their actions in distracted driving.
What counts as distracted driving in British Columbia?
In British Columbia, distracted driving occurs when a driver does not exercise due care or pay attention while operating their vehicle, putting themselves and others at risk. Under the Motor Vehicle Act, activities that constitute distracted driving include the use of cell phones for calls, text or emails, the use any other handheld electronic devices such as gaming consoles, and manually inputting information into a GPS system. While there is nothing in the distracted driving law to expressly prohibit a driver from eating, drinking, reading searching for an object or similar actions while operating their vehicle, a driver may be charged with reckless driving for such actions.
Drivers, however, are still allowed to use hands-free electronic devices with an earpiece, Bluetooth or lapel button. Drivers can also use their cellphones or other handheld devices in their car if they are legally parked off the road and can program a GPS device using voice commands and view directions from a GPS screen if it is built-in or securely mounted on their dashboard.
The punishment for distracted driving is a ticket that comes with a fine of $368 and four driver penalty points. For first-time violators, there will be an additional ICBC penalty fee of $210. Those who are guilty of distracted two or more times in a three-year period will be charged a Driver Risk Premium separate from their insurance premium and will see an increase in this amount for each additional distracted driving conviction. A driver with two or more convictions for distracted driving in a three-year period could pay as much as $2,000 in penalties in addition to their regular vehicle insurance premium.
What happens if you were injured by a distracted driver?
Not only are distracted drivers more likely to be involved in a car accident, but they are also more likely to be involved in accidents causing serious injuries and/or fatalities. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you should file a personal injury claim.
A personal injury claim will allow you to seek compensation for the driver’s negligence which resulted in your pain and suffering. While you can file a personal injury claim on your own, you might want to consult a personal injury lawyer. Those who seek the help of a personal injury lawyer find the process less daunting and are more likely to win a larger settlement.
Are you searching for a car accident lawyer in Surrey?
If you are looking for a car accident lawyer in Surrey to help you file a personal injury claim against a distracted driver, contact us at Nirwan Law Corporation. At Nirwan Law Corporation we will give you personal attention and fight to protect your rights. And we won’t charge you unless we win. So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call today to schedule a free legal consultation with our Surrey car accident lawyer. Let us show you how we can help.