You Can Help Stop Distracted Driving

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The Province just finished their successful Thunderclap campaign to Stop Distracted Driving reaching more than their goal. It’s great that over 213K people committed to #PutDownThePhone . It’s not a hard thing to put down your device when you are driving. According to the Ministry of Transportation the number of distracted driving fatalities has more than doubled since 2000 and will surpass impaired driving fatalities in the near future.

  • Every 30 minutes 1 person is injured due to distracted driving
  • 1/3 of all collisions are due to distracted driving
  • Texting, talking, typing, selecting a song, looking at a map, are all times when your eyes aren’t on the road.
  • Glancing down even for a few seconds means you can travel hundreds of metres without watching the road.
  • You are four times more likely to crash your car if you are distracted
  • Eating, reading, and typing are all distractions as well
  • Programming or looking at your GPS is a distraction
  • Reading the paper is a distraction

It’s illegal in Ontario to use hand-held communication and electronic devices.  This includes just holding onto one. Fines vary depending on your licence and how long you’ve been driving, but here is a rundown:

  1. Drivers with A to G licences

If you have an A, B, C, D, E, F and/or G licence, you’ll face bigger penalties when convicted of distracted driving:

  • a fine of $490, if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)
  • a fine of up to $1,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose three demerit points
  1. Novice drivers

If you hold a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence, and are convicted of distracted driving, you’ll face the same fines as drivers with A to G licences. But you won’t receive any demerit points.

Instead of demerit points you’ll face:

  • a 30-day licence suspension for a first conviction
  • a 90-day licence suspension for a second conviction
  • cancellation of your licence and removal from the Graduated Licensing System (GLS) for a third conviction
    • to get your licence back you’d have to redo the GLS program

you can also be charged with Careless driving if you endanger other people due to the distraction whether it’s hands free or not. If you are convicted of careless driving, you may receive:

  • six demerit points
  • fines up to $2,000 and/or
  • a jail term of six months
  • a licence suspension of up to two years

You may be charged with dangerous driving depending on the offence – a criminal code offence that carries heavier penalties, including jail terms of up to 10 years for causing bodily harm or up to 14 years for causing death.

image: United States Marine Corps with the ID 111104-M-YP696-003

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