Ontario Distracted Driving Laws
November 26, 2018
Ontario’s New Distracted Driving Laws Take Effect January 1st, 2019
Earlier this year Ontario unveiled new, tougher distracted driving laws. In an effort to make roads safer, police forces across the province are prepared to enforce all forms of distracted driving with tough penalties!
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is more than just texting behind the wheel! In Ontario you can be found guilty of distracted driving if you are found:
- Talking on the Phone (without Bluetooth) If you must touch your phone to make a call, you are breaking the law.
- Holding your phone to change a song or check maps
- Reading Books or Documents
- Typing a destination into a GPS
If you want to do any of these things, you must be legally parked out of the way of traffic. This means you cannot do any of these activities while stopped at a red light. The only exception is if you are making a call to Fire, Police or Emergency Medical Services.
What Happens if You’re Caught Distracted Driving?
These new fines and penalties are tough!
Most drivers fall into the G licence class or graduated licence system. For fully licenced drivers the following penalties take place:
For your first conviction:
- A fine up to $1000
- 3 Demerit Points
- 3 day drivers licence suspension
For your second conviction (within 5 years):
- A fine up to $2000
- 6 Demerit Points
- 7 day drivers licence suspension
For your third and subsequent convictions (within 5 years):
- A fine up to $3000
- 6 Demerit Points
- 30 day drivers licence suspension
If you’re a new driver, penalties are even tougher.
If you hold a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence and are convicted of distracted you’ll face the same fines of $1000, $2000, or $3000 depending on the number of offences you’ll also receive longer licence suspensions.
For a first offence the suspension jumps to 30 days, for a second offence the suspension jumps to 90 days and on a third offence your licence will be cancelled and you will be removed from the graduated licencing system which means you start back at the beginning of the licencing process including waiting periods paying for new tests.
You may have heard that you can get away with a warning from police if you’re caught texting and driving, but that is no more. According to an article from the CBC “the time for warnings us certainly gone. Warnings served a purpose at the initial stages when people were transitioning to this law, but [distracted driving laws have] been in effect for a number of years now. There’s no reason why somebody needs to be distracted.”
It’s time we removed the mentality that you can multitask on the road, when in fact you’re 4x more likely to be in an accident when driving distracted.
Will Distracted Driving Cause Your Insurance To Go Up?
Yes, distracted driving has big consequences for your insurance premiums. Everyone knows that accidents cause insurance premiums to rise, but did you know convictions for driving offences also impact your insurance premium. Insurance companies take distracted driving very seriously. If you’re caught and convicted for distracted driving you can expect an increase of up to 40%!!
Do yourself and everyone a favour, put your phone down and keep your eyes on the road.
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