Our governments often have trouble acknowledging inflation and the power of the wealthy.
They pooh-pooh the idea of eliminating political donations from businesses and unions – even though it’s obviously a good idea – and they leave welfare and minimum wage rates stagnant for years, ignoring the skyrocketing cost of living.
That applies to penalties and traffic tickets as much as any other segment of government action.
The sharp increase in fines for distracted drivers announced earlier this week will, unfortunately, not eliminate the texting driver from B.C.’s roads.
If jacking up the fines was all it took, we could increase fines for speeding through school zones, drunk driving, and texting to $1 million per infraction.
So raising the fine from $167 to $368 minimum won’t stop everyone from using Twitter while heading down the highway at 140 km/h.
But hopefully a few of those tickets, plus the four points on their driver’s licences, plus the escalating fines for additional tickets, will give some people pause.
If you went back 20 years, a $167 ticket would have been a considerable burden to many, especially new drivers.
In the 1980s and ’90s, many teenagers were buying their first cars for not much more than that. (They weren’t great cars.)
Jacking up the cost of tickets isn’t just about sticking it to awful drivers, it’s about acknowledging that too many people can shrug off the cost of a $167 ticket. Some can still deal too easily with the more expensive penalties.
For them, we’re glad the province is also looking to review the licences of chronic distracted drivers.