Distracted Driving Laws in Ontario

January 4, 2019

Effective January 1, 2019

 

The new Distracted Driving Laws in Ontario came into effect on January 1st. Penalties for distracted driving have now increased and we want you to be aware! When you are not focused on the road, accidents can happen…and at Dunk & Associates we love to say, “accidents are preventable”. By being distracted, you can cause an accident or be part of an accident which could have prevented if you had been paying closer attention.

 

It goes without saying that using hand-held devices while driving is not smart – and it’s illegal. But what about other things like calming my toddler in the back seat, having a sip of my morning cup of coffee, or pressing “accept” on the incoming call on my phone? These are all forms of driving distracted and can be punishable with a license suspension and hefty fine.

 

Here’s some things you need to know:

 

Talking, texting, switching playlists, checking maps, reading books or documents, or simply holding onto a hand-held device is considered illegal. Touching, holding or manipulating any device while driving or stopped at a stop light is considered distracted driving and you can be fined. To do any of the above legally, you must be pulled off the and not impeding traffic, or legally parked to use your hand-held device.

 

If you have a cell phone with an earpiece, headset or Bluetooth using voice-activated dialing, you can use it only to activate or deactivate “hands-free” functions provided that the device is mounted or secured. The same goes with a GPS.  You cannot scroll through your contacts, dial from your phone or input a destination– this is considered illegal.

 

While eating, taking a sip of coffee, changing the radio station and smoking a cigarette are not considered illegal, they are still considered distractions while driving. (Depending on what you are doing you could be fined.)

 

Of course, there are exceptions – you are lawfully allowed to call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

 

What are the fines?

 

If you have a G, A, B, C, D, E, F, or M license, you can face the following on your first distracted driving conviction:

  • A fine of up to $1,000

  • Three demerit points

  • A three day driver’s license suspension

 

For your second distracted driving conviction within 5 years:

  • A fine of up to $2,000

  • Six demerit points

  • A seven-day driver’s license suspension

 

For your third and all subsequent distracted driving convictions within 5 years:

  • A fine of up to $3,000

  • Six demerit points

  • A 30-day driver’s license suspension

 

Newer Drivers with a G1, G2, M1 or M2 license will receive the same escalating fines as drivers but you won’t receive any demerit points.  Instead of demerit points you will face the following:

  • A 30 day license suspension for a first distracted driving conviction

  • A 90 day license suspension for a second distracted driving conviction

  • Cancellation of your license and removal from the Graduated Licensing System (GLS) for a third distracted driving conviction.

 

Resources

 

Dunk & Associates is happy to provide your workplace with some free posters to post in your workplace:

 

Distracted Driving Poster 1
Distracted Driving Poster 2
Don’t Drive Impaired Poster

 

For more information visit http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/distracted-driving-faq.shtml

 

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