Whitehorse Daily Star

Fine for distracted driving increases to $500 from $250

Speeding, careless and distracted drivers: take note.

By Whitehorse Star on May 16, 2018

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.

Comments (22)

Up 0 Down 1

Max Mack on May 28, 2018 at 2:40 pm

Adding this comment days after the story was printed, but never too late. Right?

There is no convincing evidence that increasing fines will result in any measurable safety improvements - unless you believe computer "models", which always assume that higher penalties result in fewer accidents. Colour me "skeptical" regarding these models.

Roads engineered with safety in mind, coupled with enforcement, will achieve far more than increased penalties.

I wonder if these changes in law are being done with an eye towards giving CoW responsibility for traffic enforcement; thereby, giving CoW access to a ready stream of revenue?

Up 2 Down 0

Juniper Jackson on May 22, 2018 at 3:04 pm

Legal distinction: last time I looked we, that is..everyone still gets an opinion in Canada.. and not you or anyone else has the right to tell me what I can or can't think or write for print either. It is MY opinion that when a person makes a deliberate choice to become impaired while behind the wheel or is already impaired, they are making the choice to potentially take someone's life... that's murder and in MY opinion it is premeditated. YOU should learn the difference between an opinion and a fact before you spew anything. Here's a new opinion for you.. why don't you comment yourself on the issue instead of foaming at the mouth over someone elses opinion?

Up 3 Down 0

56 Yukon on May 22, 2018 at 5:25 am

Doesn't matter when there is no policing to enforce. I can drive from Porter Creek to Main street and see at least 6

Up 0 Down 4

Legal distinction on May 20, 2018 at 8:58 pm

Juniper Jackson - unless it is premeditated, it is not murder, it is manslaughter ( first or second degree ). Learn your facts before spewing out your uninformed opinion.

Up 4 Down 0

Dean LaRue on May 20, 2018 at 6:35 pm


"if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it does it
make a sound ? "

They'll make $100,000 a day on 4th Avenue alone if they actually bother to enforce this

Up 6 Down 0

Juniper Jackson on May 19, 2018 at 5:40 pm

A cash grab would be when you don't have a choice..like the 'carbon tax'.. THAT'S a cash grab...

People have a choice about tickets.. you don't have to speed..you don't have to run red lights and stop signs, you don't have to wolf down a burger, text, talk on the phone or drive drunk... and.. you don't have to pick up a fine..it's your choice.. and.. you don't have to kill or permanently disable someone either.. that's the ultimate price a person pays for choosing to drive unsafely.. I have 0 tolerance for murderers...

Up 5 Down 0

Hugh Mungus on May 18, 2018 at 7:18 pm

No worries, next to zero enforcement in this town anyway. Also, holding your phone in front of your face while on speakerphone is NOT hands free you twits!

Up 8 Down 1

Thomas Brewer on May 18, 2018 at 4:17 pm

Google is your friend... unsafe lane changes are far more deadly than speed.
People ignoring red lights is utterly too common in Whitehorse.

Up 3 Down 6

BostonCreamPlease on May 18, 2018 at 3:23 pm

James C. Walker - sadly, I am sure you are right. If you are ever driving West on the Yellowhead out of Edmonton to Jasper, try and avoid Edson - they just sit there under the bridge as you exit the highway ( at 80 kph ) and before you have had chance to slow down to 50 kph for the town boundary, you are pulled over and quickly at least a hundred dollars lighter. They then switch off their patrol cruiser lights and hi-tail it straight to Hortons for an 'off-duty cappucino'. Its the small-town Alberta way!

Up 5 Down 3

James C. Walker on May 18, 2018 at 5:37 am

If the speed limits are set at the actual 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic under good conditions, rounded up or down to the nearest 10 kph interval, they are set for safety and driving well above the limits is less safe.

BUT, in most of Canada, limits on main roads are set 10 to 20 kph below the safest 85th percentile speed levels to create lucrative speed traps for profits.

James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

Up 9 Down 0

Tamara on May 17, 2018 at 11:31 pm

I got a ticket for grabbing my cell and picking up a phone call while driving and putting it on speaker phone. That hurt. But the truth is: I was distracted. How else didn’t I see the cop behind me?
Learned my lesson - won’t do it again. The Yukon is safer now.

Up 7 Down 3

Yukon Justice on May 17, 2018 at 10:35 pm

You don't have to worry about being caught speeding or driving distracted because there are no cops out there trying to catch people.

Up 6 Down 0

Fed with the drivers on May 17, 2018 at 10:23 pm

Yes I agree with all the fines but if they really want to slow down vehicles they should do something about the roundabouts especially the one at Elijah Smith school. Doesn't anyone know what yield means? They should have a cop or bylaw officer there a couple times a week guaranteed a lot of tickets because a lot of idiots who stay at Granger apparently don't know what yield means.

Up 9 Down 0

Tell that to parents whose child is dead on May 17, 2018 at 9:46 pm

I recently met the founder of PADD. This stands for Parents Against Distracted Driving. His child died at 18, due to a distracted driver. Until you've lost your child to somebody's senseless actions, don't whine about a cash grab. You break the law, you pay the fine. It should be way more, like $1500 and jail time for the first offence. Then maybe people would realize that it is the number one killer these days, even over drunk driving. Those of you addicted to your phones, get a life. I grew up without a phone and still only use mine sparingly. I NEVER text and drive nor would I. Put your phone away and enjoy people's company. And as for speeding...speed kills. Speed limits are there for a reason--break the speed limit, pay.

Up 13 Down 2

BnR on May 17, 2018 at 2:53 pm

"Cash grabs"?
What are you on about?
These are fines.
Don't want to pay'em? Don't break the law.
Real simple.

Up 12 Down 2

Jayne W on May 17, 2018 at 2:36 pm

How is this a cash grab? Don't speed or use your cell phone while driving, and you won't get a ticket. Therefore no cash (grab) needs to be paid. Easy.

Up 11 Down 2

woodcutter on May 17, 2018 at 1:48 pm

@ obvious, My Opinion, and Telepathy

Get off your cell phone and you have no worries, slow down and the same result. Trying to portray a fine as a tax, is the dumbest thing I've heard of today.

Up 3 Down 10

TelepathyTransporter on May 17, 2018 at 9:36 am

Cash-grab. Nothing else to say.

Up 7 Down 0

Question on May 17, 2018 at 9:16 am

What is the difference between "Exceeding the speed limit" and "Exceeding the general maximum speed"? Isn't a speed limit a speed limit?

Up 9 Down 2

woodcutter on May 17, 2018 at 9:00 am

100 tickets a year for speeding? With all the traffic going on now with the mines opening up there is so many Truck/goose neck trailer combo's blasting down the road like they don't have a care. I notice an increase of dead wildlife this spring. I would propose that anyone speeding that has a commercial plate should have double the demerit points and a larger fine, then maybe the forest creature we share this world with will not be splattered all over the road.

I am safe, the old wood truck doesn't want to go fast anymore.

Up 4 Down 10

My Opinion on May 16, 2018 at 5:28 pm

Yep. More Taxes. It's the Liberal way you know.

Up 6 Down 9

Obvious_Oliver on May 16, 2018 at 5:26 pm

Possibly the most transparent cash-grab in law enforcement history.

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