Increased Fines for Distracted Driving in Ontario
Ontario recently passed legislation increasing penalties for drivers who text or use a handheld phone while on the road. Fines for distracted drivers will increase from the old range of $60 to $500 to between $300 to $1,000, plus three demerit points.
Risks of Distracted Driving Good drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road. Research shows that drivers who use cell phones are four times more likely to be in a collision than drivers who focus on the road, and when drivers take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds, their crash risk doubles.
Ontario’s Distracted Driving Law In Ontario, it’s against the law to: • Operate (including talk, text, type, dial or email) hand-held communication and electronic entertainment devices while you are driving • View display screens unrelated to your driving
Examples of hand-held devices include: • iPods • GPS and MP3 players • Cell phones • Smart phones • Laptops • DVD players
What is hands-free? Any device that you do not touch, hold or manipulate while driving, other than to activate or deactivate it. For example, actions such as dialing or scrolling through contacts, or manually programming a GPS device are not allowed.
Tips to avoid distraction There are many simple steps you can take to avoid being distracted while you drive: • Use your cell phone only when you are parked, or have a passenger take the call • Let calls go to voicemail • Turn off your cell phone before you start driving • Identify and preset your vehicle’s climate control, radio and CD player • Plan your route and set your GPS before you leave • When you are hungry or thirsty, take a break. Don’t eat or drink while you drive. • Avoid other distractions like reading maps, grooming activities and tending to children and pets
For more information on distracted driving laws in Ontario visit: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/distracted-driving.shtml