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Wagner  da Silva

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Coldwell Banker - R.M.R. Real Estate, Brokerage *

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Ontario's Tough Distracted Driving Laws

“The law has been passed it’s now just a matter of time"

If you are driving and you want to answer a text message or making a phone call you better stop and park your car before you do that. 

On January 1st The fines for distracted driving would increase from a maximum of $1,000 to up to $2,000 on a second conviction and up to $3,000 for third or subsequent incidents, as well as six demerit points for multiple offenses.

 

What counts as distracted driving.

When you aren’t focused on the road, things can happen fast. You must pay attention and keep both your hands on the driving wheel. Using your phone to talk, text, check maps or choose a playlist while you’re behind the wheel all count as distracted driving, other activities like eating, reading or typing a destination into a GPS are also dangerous when you’re behind the wheel.

It doesn’t matter if you’re on a highway or stopped at a red light – distracted driving could cost you

Using a cell phone is only permitted if the device is mounted or secure.  You only can activate or deactivate a "hands-free" function. Dialing or scrolling through contacts is not allowed. In fact, simply holding a phone or other device while driving is against the law.

A GPS should be mounted on the dashboard or windshield and you must input the required information before you start driving. You are not allowed to do while driving.

IMPORTANT DO NOT USE YOUR HAND-HELD DEVICE WHEN YOU ARE STOPPED AT A STOP LIGHT - if you do that is also considered distracted driving.

Another important advice is that while you are driving on 400-series highways you are prohibited to stop for a reason other than an emergency. So if you want to add your destination to your GPS do it before getting on 401 or any other 400-series highways.

For Novice Drivers - It gets worst

If you hold a G1, G2, M1 or M2 license, and are convicted of distracted driving, you’ll face the same fines as drivers with A to G licenses. But you won’t receive any demerit points instead of demerit points, you’ll face:

  • a 30-day license suspension for a first conviction
  • a 90-day license suspension for a second conviction
  • cancellation of your license and removal from the Graduated Licensing System (GLS) for a third conviction
    • to get your license back you’d have to redo the GLS program

Careless driving 

You could face more charges – for careless driving – if you endanger other people because of any kind of distraction. This includes distraction caused by both hand-held (e.g., phone) or hands-free (e.g., Bluetooth) devices.

If convicted of careless driving, you may receive:

  • six demerit points
  • fines up to $2,000 and/or
  • a jail term of six months
  • a licence suspension of up to two years

You could even be charged with dangerous driving – a criminal offense that carries heavier penalties, including jail terms of up to 10 years for causing bodily harm or up to 14 years for causing death.

You may also want to watch this video from  York police and see how they are catching some drivers.

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