Did you know that if you used your cellphone (texting or talking without using hands free device) while driving your vehicle, you are four times more likely to have an accident? You may think that you have a good handle on the road and are able to text and drive at the same time however studies show that eyes-off-the-road periods of greater than two seconds doubles your risk of crashes and near-crashes.
As of September 1, 2015 the fines and penalties for distracted driving have increased.
According to the Ministry of Transportation website, if convicted of distracted driving, a fully licenced driver or a hybrid driver (holder of a full-class licence and a novice licence such as Class G and M1) can receive:
- a fine of $400, plus a victim surcharge and court fee, for a total of $490 if settled out of court
- fine of up to $1,000 if you receive a summons or fight your ticket
- three demerit points applied to your driver’s record
If convicted of distracted driving, a novice driver(subject to the Graduated Licensing program) will be subject to escalating sanctions (but will not be subject to demerit points):
- first occurrence will result in a 30-day licence suspension
- second occurrence will result in 90-day licence suspension
- licence cancellation and removal from the Graduated Licensing System for a third occurrence
If you endanger others because of any distraction, including both hand-held and hands-free devices, you can also be charged with careless driving. If convicted, you will automatically receive:
- six demerit points
- fines up to $2,000 and/or
- a jail term of six months
- up to two-year licence suspension
Did you know, you can even be charged with dangerous driving (a criminal offence), with jail terms of up to five years!
There is no lawful reason to be holding or operating a hand-held communication device while driving a motor vehicle and this includes while stopped at traffic lights. If there is an emergency, please find a safe place to pull over before dialing 9-1-1.