Distracted Driving In Ontario

Stiffer fines and long-term consequences were introduced for distracted drivers in Ontario on January 1, 2019. If you are an Ontario resident it is now more important than ever before to know what counts as distracted driving and the penalties (and consequences) you could face for driving distracted.

We recommend educating yourself before getting behind the wheel.

What Is Distracted Driving?

When you aren’t focused on the road, things can happen quickly. Using your phone to talk, text, check maps or choose a playlist while you’re behind the wheel all count as distracted driving – and they put you and others at risk.

Activities like reading, eating or even typing a destination into your GPS are also dangerous when you’re behind the wheel.

Regardless of being stopped at a red light or sitting in stop and go traffic – distracted driving will cost you. Simply holding your phone or another device while driving is against the law.

What are Some of the Penalties of Distracted Driving?

Most drivers caught talking, texting, dialing or emailing on a handheld device will be fined up to $1,000 — more than double the previous fine.

Additional penalties include a three-day licence suspension and three demerit points. And that’s just the beginning. Driving distracted is now considered a major infraction when it comes to your automobile insurance, similar to impaired driving. The cost of your automobile insurance will skyrocket with ONE distracted driving offence. Read on for more information on penalties for distracted driving.

Distracted Driving Statistics In Ontario

In Ontario, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have sadly doubled since 2000. According to police, they are also the leading cause of fatal collisions in Ontario.

Distracted driving was a factor of 65 fatal accidents investigated by the OPP in 2016.

In 2016, 65 people were killed in OPP-investigated crashes where inattentive drivers were involved — more than drinking and driving, speeding or collisions where people were not wearing seatbelts.

Drivers With A to G Licences

The following information was taken directly from the Government of Ontario:

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

First conviction:

  • – a fine of $615, 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
  • – automatic 3-day suspension

 

Second conviction

  1. – a fine of $615, if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)
  2. – a fine of up to $2,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose
  3. – six additional? demerit points
  4. – automatic 7-day suspension

 

Third and any further conviction(s)

  • – a fine of $615, if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)
  • – a fine of up to $3,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose
  • – six additional demerit points
  • – automatic 30-day suspension

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 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

How to Avoid Distracted Driving

Here are some tips to avoid penalties for distracted driving:

  • – Be sure to turn off your phone and consider putting it in the glove compartment or in your bag or purse.
  • – Turn off your ringer and silence any notifications so you are not tempted to check your phone.
  • – Allow your phone to send automatic replies to people attempting to text or call you.
  • – If you have a passenger in the car, ask them to respond to text messages for you.
  • – If you have to respond to a text or call, cautiously pull over to a safe area.

 

While safety is the paramount incentive to avoid distracted driving, there are fines, licence suspensions and auto insurance implications as well. If you are charged with distracted driving, the threat of a significant increase in your insurance premium is probable.

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, “building a consistently accident-and-conviction-free driving record can help reduce your premium.”

Don’t TEXT + DRV

The fight to end distracted driving starts with you. We ask that you pledge to leave the phone alone while driving. Take the « don’t txt + drv » pledge now: www.ijustdrive.ca www.attentifauvolant.ca.

Remember, aside from the severe, immediate consequences of distracted driving, you will also suffer long-term costs for automobile insurance. If you have any questions, please give us a call at 1 (800) 566-6314.

 

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