POLITICS

Nova Scotia boosts fines, adds loss of demerit points, for texting and driving

01/20/2015 11:51 EST | Updated 03/22/2015 05:59 EDT
HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia government is reminding motorists that it will soon increase fines for drivers who use hand-held electronic devices behind the wheel while also taking demerit points from their licences.

Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan says distracted driving is as serious as impaired driving and the bigger fines and loss of demerit points is aimed at influencing the behaviour of drivers.

The new penalties take effect Feb. 1, with exceptions for people who use their cellphones to report an emergency.

A conviction for using a hand-held device while driving will mean the loss of four demerit points from a driver's licence.

Meanwhile, the fine for a first offence jumps from $176.45 to $233.95.

The fine for a second offence increases from $233.95 to $348.95, and a third offence from $348.95 to $578.95

The government first announced the new penalties last year.