Distracted driving is a silent killer on Ontario’s roads, and it is becoming increasingly more common. During our driver training sessions, I continually stress the importance of ignoring phones, and keeping music turned low. It is also imperative not to wear headphones while driving.
Even experienced drivers are distracted by passengers, and by talking on phones, even if those phones are hands free units. For new drivers, who have to put much more attention into the act of controlling a vehicle, it is even more important to keep distractions to a minimum.
This year, the Ontario Provincial Police has stated that distracted driving is the primary cause of deaths on Ontario’s roads. It is more than 30% higher than for impaired driving, which is the number two killer.
In response to this, minimum fines may double for distracted drivers under new legislation that has been recently proposed in Ontario.
This will change fines in the Ontario Highway Traffic Act from the current levels of $60.00 to $500.00 to the new ranges of $300.00 to $1000.00. It will also result in a three-point demerit.
For new drivers, it may also result in a 30-day licence suspension.
Steven Del Duca, the province’s minister of transportation, has stated that the proposed legislation will make the roads safer for pedestrians, drivers and cyclists.
This legislation also imposes new fines, similar to drunk driving charges, to people who are convicted of driving while under the influence of drugs.
Similar changes are happening in British Columbia: