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Don't Read This, While Driving.

By Brown & Brethour

Don't Read This, While Driving.

We all know that using your cellphone or other handheld devices while driving can land you a ticket for distracted driving, but that’s not all.

So what is considered distracted driving?

  • Using a hand-held devices such as phones or tablets while driving, whether you’re texting, calling, checking your maps, changing songs, etc. If it’s in your hand, you are distracted
  • Typing a location into your GPS
  • Watching display screens, for purposes other than driving. Such as watching videos or reading messages 

Those are just a few examples of what could be considered as distracted driving. And it doesn’t matter whether you are driving on the 401 or you’re stopped at a red light, you’re still distracted, and the law recognizes that.

Although they are not considered under the Ontario distracted driving law, actions such as eating, drinking, or doing your makeup can still land you a ticket for careless or dangerous driving.

What about Hands-Free?

  • If your cellphone has hands-free functions such as Bluetooth, you can use it. However, the phone must be secured or mounted, and you may ONLY touch the device to activate or deactivate the hands-free capability. You CANNOT dial numbers, scroll through texts or contacts, etc.
  • GPS screens can be used, however, it must be mounted to the dashboard or windshield AND you must input any required info before you begin driving.
  • Other items such as built-in display screens that are used for safety reasons and ignition interlock devices are acceptable to use.

When can I use my hand-held device?

  • You can use it to call 9-1-1 in case of an emergency
  • If you are safely and lawfully pulled off the roadway or parked 

New Penalties for Distracted Driving

The following penalties are for drivers with A to G licences who are convicted for Distracted Driving.

First Conviction Second Conviction Third Conviction & any thereafter
  • Fines up to $1000
  • 3 Demerit Points
  • 3-Day Licence Suspension
  • Fines up to $2000
  • 6 Demerit Points
  • 7-Day Licence Suspension
  • Fines up to $3000
  • 6 Demerit Points
  • 30-Day Licence Suspension

Drivers with G1, G2, M1 or M2 Licences that are convicted of Distracted Driving:

The same Fines apply as those for A to G drivers. However, they will not receive any demerit points.

Instead, they will face longer Licence Suspensions:

First Conviction Second Conviction Third Conviction
  • Fines up to $1000
  • 30-Day Licence Suspension
  • Fines up to $2000
  • 90-Day Licence Suspension
  • Fines up to $3000
  • Drivers Licence Cancelled*

*After a Drivers 3rd Conviction they will lose their licence and be removed from the Graduated Licencing System. In order to get their licence back they will be required to complete the Graduated Licencing System program again.

Distracted Driving can lead to more severe penalties and even criminal charges if it endangers or causes harm to others.

How Will a Ticket Affect Your Insurance?

Long story short, your premium will increase! 

Whether it’s in the form of losing a conviction free discount, adding a conviction surcharge, or being forced to move to a high-risk company, you are going to see an increase in your insurance premium as a result of a distracted driving conviction.

This should come as no surprise, as we are all aware of the correlation between distracted driving and traffic accidents.

Tips to Avoid it

IBC's Top 10 Tips for Avoiding Distractions While Driving

Disclaimer:

The above information does not constitute legal advice and is for general purposes ONLY. Please check with the appropriate authority for up to date information regarding distracted driving laws in Ontario.


Sources:

Government of Ontario
Insurance Bureau of Canada
Ontario Ministry of Transportation  


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