Mike Farnworth
Mike Farnworth
Mike Farnworth

Victoria: Our government continues to take urgent action to keep auto insurance rates affordable. At the same time, we’re preparing for the legalization of non-medical cannabis, and its implications for road safety.

What aren’t changing are the fundamentals underlying both affordability and safety. The “Three S’s” remain most essential to the well-being of you, your passengers and those around you when you’re driving:

* Speed: observing the posted limit – which is the maximum for ideal road conditions – while modifying your speed to align with changing conditions.

* Sight: keeping your eyes on the road and what’s going on around you in traffic, including when you’re at a traffic light or a stop sign.

* Sobriety: ensuring that your driving is not affected or impaired by alcohol, cannabis, illegal or prescription drugs, fatigue or any other condition that compromises your focus, alertness or reaction time.

Police experts attend and analyze serious crashes. Because of their reports, we know that speed, distraction, impairment and fatigue contribute to far too many deaths and serious injuries.

Often, police cite more than one of these factors in a single report. That’s why these problems remain top of mind as we work to reduce traffic injuries and related costs.

B.C.’s traffic laws, enforcement technology, and ability to quickly identify and sanction bad drivers have never been stronger. In just the past few months, we’ve announced significant increases in penalties for repeat distracted drivers; expanded hours of operation for red-light cameras at high-collision intersections; using some of those cameras to issue tickets to the worst speeders; and electronic ticketing technology that enables police officers to share offence details quickly and accurately with other police agencies, ICBC and government.

With the proposed legalization of non-medicinal cannabis, drugs and driving is a growing issue of concern. We are committed to implementing tougher administrative sanctions to deter people from getting behind the wheel, whether impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Work is underway now on drug-impaired driving. We’ll be introducing first-phase changes that build off the proposed new federal legislation (Bill C-46). We’ll also be working hard to get the message out that if you take drugs that impair your ability to drive, then don’t drive.

But the work won’t stop there. We’re going to take careful stock of what happens on B.C.’s roads after legalization, to ensure we continue to have impaired driving laws in place that are both swift and severe.

As well, through a public engagement, we’re now asking British Columbians to help us make auto insurance rates fairer. We think this means making higher-risk drivers pay more and lower-risk drivers pay less. I encourage you to have your say at: www.engage.gov.bc.ca/ratefairness

Our government remains committed to making life more affordable. You can help us to help you by slowing down, focusing on the road and not letting alcohol, drugs or fatigue cloud your ability to drive.

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by your vehicle’s five-star safety rating, a dozen airbags, speed-sensitive steering or anti-lock brakes. Your brain remains the most important safety equipment in your vehicle.