Speeding, careless and distracted drivers: take note.
The Yukon government updated the Motor Vehicles Regulations and the Summary Convictions Regulations on Tuesday by raising fines for distracted driving and speeding offences.
The fines were stiffened to the maximum currently permitted under the Motor Vehicles Act (MVA) as a deterrence to reduce unsafe driving in the territory, the government said in a statement.
Amendments include increasing the fines for distracted driving to $500 from $250.
The legislature unanimously supported a motion in the spring of 2017 calling for higher fines for distracted driving.
The changes came into effect Tuesday.
“We are acting to deter unsafe driving by increasing fines for distracted driving and speeding,” said Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn.
“Updating the Motor Vehicles Act will be a long and complex project, and these immediate changes shouldn’t wait. These amendments will help keep Yukoners and visitors safe.”
Approximately 1,000 speeding tickets are issued in the Yukon each year.
The territory’s current fatal crash rate is twice the national average.
Here is a summary of the changes to the Motor Vehicles Act, listing the traffic violation and the new penalties:
• Distracted driving: use of an electronic device while driving, previously a $250 fine and three driver’s licence demerit points; now a $500 fine and three demerit points.
• Exceeding the general maximum speed: previously no fines and no demerit points for driving not more than 15 km/h over the limit; now $50 and two demerit points; more than 15 km/h but not more than 30 km/h, $150 and four demerit points; more than 30 km/h but not more than 50 km/h, $200 and six demerit points.
• Exceeding the speed limit: not more than 15 km/h, $25 and two demerit points; more than 15 km/h but less than 30 km/h, $40 and three demerit points; more than 30 km/h but less than 50 km/h, $75 and four demerit points; more than 50 km/h, $150 and six demerit points; not more than 15 km/h, $50 and two demerit points; more than 15 km/h but not more than 30 km/h, $100 and three demerit points; more than 30 km/h but not more than 50 km/h, $150 and four demerit points; more than 50 km/h, $200 and six demerit points.
This morning, the Star contacted the RCMP regarding the fines increases.
RCMP spokesperson Coralee Reid said the police would not be able to comment at this time.
She explained that police are busy with Canada Safety Week this week.
The police are focusing on aggressive driving, impaired driving and seatbelt use all this week leading up to the Victoria Day long weekend.
She said there is usually more enforcement during the weeks leading up to long weekends due to the increased traffic.
“While these are priorities for Yukon RCMP officers year-round, additional enforcement is conducted on weeks leading into long weekends and holidays, when more people are on the road travelling to spend time with family and friends,” Reid said.
Police will be issuing some messaging next week on enforcement after Canadian Safety Week and the long weekend enforcement conclude.