Ontario just rolled out new fines and suspensions for Distracting Driving on January 1st, 2019. Here’s what you need to know;
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is considered any activity that takes your focus off the road, even when you’re sitting stopped at a red light. These activities include;
- Using any electronic device; making or accepting phone calls, texting/emailing, reading, watching videos, checking directions, and changing music.
- Eating and drinking.
- Grooming or applying make up.
- Reading documents, papers or books.
- Typing routes or destinations into a GPS.
- Adjusting Entertainment systems.
- Looking for or reaching for a fallen/moving item in your vehicle.
- Simply holding a device in your hand.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada states that;
- Drivers are 23 more times likely to be involved in an accident while texting and driving.
- In Canada, distracted driving is the number one risk on the road, 8 of 10 collisions are caused by a driver who is distracted.
- If convicted for distracting driving you can expect your insurance premiums to rise.
These are the new penalties as of January 1st, 2019 according to Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation;
Drivers with A to G licences
- First conviction:
- 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
- 3-day suspension
- Second conviction
- a fine of up to $2,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose
- six demerit points
- 7-day suspension
- Third and any further conviction(s)
- a fine of up to $3,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose
- six demerit points
- 30-day suspension
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 longer suspensions:
- 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
Tips for avoiding Distracted Driving
- Be an attentive driver, focus only on driving.
- Set your phone to “Driving Mode” to avoid the temptation.
- Make all calls or send any communication out before you leave.
- Enter your destination into your GPS before heading out.
- Secure all loose items or gear before hitting the road to avoid them moving while driving.
- Adjust seats, mirrors, temperature controls and sound system while still in park.
- Enlist your passengers to navigate, or change controls of radio, climate etc.
- Don’t eat and drive – eat first before you leave, if you must eat, pull over.
- Turn down the music.
- Take regular breaks on long trips.