Will Updated Ontario Distracted Driving Laws Induce Drivers to Finally Put Down Their Connected Mobile Devices?

AutoInformed.com on Autonomous Driving

Studies show that Distracted Driving is the equivalent of Drunk driving but the safety problem is increasing.

Starting today distracted driving laws in Ontario are strengthened to include license suspensions, increased demerit points and an increase to the minimum financial penalty that can be charged to those guilty of distracted driving.

Distracted driving continues to be a challenge everywhere but on Ontario’s roads – nearly a decade after the initial legislation banning handheld devices was passed – it’s still a big problem. In Ontario one person is injured in a distracted driving collision every half an hour. CAA research shows that one in three Ontario drivers claim to engage in distracted driving as a result of using a mobile device.

The new legislation is the first increase since September 2015 when demerit points were added to distracted driving convictions.

“The new fines and penalties are some of the strongest in the country, and they will further aid law enforcement in their continued effort to make road conditions safer for everyone,” said Elliott Silverstein of the non-profit CAA South Central Ontario.

Starting January 1, 2019, Ontario drivers can expect the following fines and penalties if caught driving distracted:

  • The minimum financial penalty will increase from $490 to $615.
  • A first conviction for distracted driving will now result in a three-day license suspension, three demerit points and a minimum financial penalty of $615.
  • A second conviction will result in a financial penalty of up to $2000 (previously up to $1000), six demerit points and a seven-day license suspension.
  • For third (or more) convictions, drivers will face a financial penalty of up to $3000 (previously up to $1000), six demerit points and a 30-day license suspension.

CAA has the following tips to reduce distractions:

  • Turn off mobile devices
  • Stow and secure loose objects
  • Avoid eating, drinking or smoking
  • Prepare children with everything they need
  • Pre-set the climate control and radio
  • Pre-program your route on GPS
  • Allow phone calls to go to voicemail
  • Don’t text, surf the web or read emails

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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