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Regional Police Continue To Charge Drivers As Distracted Driving Numbers Increase
Police Continue to charge Distracted Drivers Which Includes Texting And Other Distractions
Waterloo Region, Ontario – Waterloo Regional Police conducted a dedicated road safety campaign for the last three days. Officers in the area of Shantz Hill Road and Fountain Street in the City of Cambridge continually and constantly observed motorists texting and driving, or using their cellular devices while operating their motor vehicles.
In nine hours, officers charged 52 people with distracted driving offences in addition to 17 other various provincial offences (ie. Smoking with person under 16 in vehicle, fail to wear seatbelt). “It is reassuring when we see drivers pull over to the side of the road in a safe manner to talk on their cell phones”, said Sergeant Nadine Cybulski, who took part in the road safety campaign.
Although cell phone laws have been in effect for years, with the recent legislative changes, drivers will receive a ticket for $490.00 and three demerit points if they use their electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle
“Road safety continues to be a focus for our Service as distracted driving continues to be one of the leading cause of vehicular deaths in Canada”, said Chief Bryan Larkin. “As we welcome students of all ages back to school, we encourage all drivers to stay off their phones and be aware of their surroundings, be safe”.
Waterloo Regional Police Service encourages all drivers to safely enter a parking lot or pull over to the side of the road, and only then use their devices when it is safe to do so.
Driver Inattention Kills
"Since 2009, more than 500 people have died in collisions in OPP-controlled roads, in which driver inattention was a causal factor," said Sgt. Dave Rektor of Ontario Provincial Police. "Statistically speaking, distracted driving has exceeded impaired driving as a causal factor in fatal collisions."
Rektor said texting or checking a phone while driving aren't the only behaviours deemed as distracted driving, which incorporates anything that takes a driver's eyes off the road.
"Fussing with kids in the back of the car, pushing buttons on a stereo, reaching for something—anything that distracts you from driving [counts]," he said.
New Rules of the Road Effective September 1, 2015
* Fine as listed is set fine including Victim Fine Surcharge and court costs
Penalty Effective September 1, 2015
$60 - $500 fine
$490* fine and three demerit points; minimum 30-day suspension for novice drivers
"Dooring" of cyclists or vehicles
$60 - $500 fine
$365* fine and three demerit points
Drivers must leave a one-metre distance when passing cyclists or face a $110* fine and two demerit points; $180* fine and two demerit points for failing to leave a one-metre distance when passing cyclists in a community safety zone
Improper lighting on bicycle
$20 set fine
Slow Down, Move Over
Slow Down, Move Over for emergency vehicles stopped at roadside to assist
Slow Down, Move Over requirement now also includes tow trucks stopped at roadside to assist; $490* fine for violation
More Changes to the Highway Traffic Act
In addition to the above recent changes to the distracted driving and cyclist legislation, there has also been a change to the Highway Traffic Act Regulation in regards to reporting of collisions. A change to Section 11 Ontario Regulation 596 (General) now states “… the prescribed amount for damage to property is $2000.”
What does this mean for Ontario drivers? As of September 1st, 2015 if you are involved in a motor vehicle collision that involves property damage only and that damage is apparently more than $2000, drivers are legally obligated to report the collision to Police.
What do I do if I’m in a collision? If you’re involved in a collision, immediately determine if anyone is hurt, if so, call 911 right away and get medical assistance. If there are no injuries and the vehicles involved are blocking live lanes of traffic, if you can, get them off to the side or to the closest parking lot.
Estimate the damage to all vehicles involved and if the total damage is more than $2000, you must report this collision to the Police.
Additional Changes from Bill 31 - Making Ontario's Roads Safer Act
Effective January 1, 2016
- Drivers must yield the whole roadway to pedestrians at school crossings and pedestrian crossovers.
Expected Spring 2016
- Municipalities will have enhanced ability to charge out-of-province individuals caught by red light cameras.
Expected Fall 2016
- New penalties for drug-impaired driving that mirror penalties for alcohol-impaired driving.
- Extending remedial measures and ignition interlock requirements to any accumulation of alcohol/drug impaired driving under the Highway Traffic Act.