This is something everyone needs to know about if you’re driving in Ontario. The laws for distracted driving just got a lot more serious as of today and this is a good thing as there are now more people killed in accidents due to distracted driving than any other cause in Ontario and this is for the last four years and it is going up.
While this has largely come about due to phones, it can also include eating, putting on makeup, reading or anything else that takes your attention from the road and this even includes while stopped at a light!
Here’s the link to the ontario website describing what distracted driving is. www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/distracted-driving-faq.shtml
See also this article at CBC at www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/distracted-driving-texting-ontario-penalties-1.4939223 for more info.
I still see daily people in Ottawa talking on their phones, holding them up to their ear while driving so we certainly have a long way to go – if you can’t stop try putting your phone in the trunk or the glovebox and the life you save could be yours.
No text or phone call is that important to risk someone else’s life.
Here’s a sampling of the new penalties – may seem high but don’t think of the penalties – think of saving lives.
Drivers convicted of distracted driving under the new laws will be punished with a licence suspension, a hefty fine and demerit points. The severity of the punishment increases with the number of subsequent offences committed:
- First offence: 3 days suspension and $1,000 fine
- Second offence: 7 days suspension and $2,000 fine
- Three or more offences: 30 days suspension, $3,000 fine and six demerit points
According to the official Government of Ontario website, anything that causes a driver to be less focused on the road constitutes distracted driving. These include activities such as:
- Simply holding an electronic device in your hands (hand-held communication during driving is against the law)
- Using a cellular phone to talk, text, check maps or switch playlists
- Eating (there may not be a licence suspension, but the RCMP warn you could be fined or given six demerits depending on the food)
- Reading books or documents
- Typing a destination into the GPS
Distracted driving is not limited to just the the use of electronics, as most people assume. Doing any of the aforementioned activities while behind the wheel makes you guilty of distracted driving, even if you’re on the highway or stopped at a red light.
You can read more about this also at www.narcity.com/ca/on/toronto/news/heres-what-counts-as-distracted-driving-under-ontarios-new-driving-laws
Here’s also another interesting article on research done in the US regarding distracted driving and cell phone accidents etc. – www.after-car-accidents.com/texting-and-driving-accidents.html