Distracted driving has been defined as the act of driving while doing other activities that take a driver’s attention off the road. Distracted driving is nothing short of dangerous and, in Ontario, it now surpasses drunk driving as the number one cause of motor vehicle fatalities. Yes, in fact it now causes more deaths than drunk driving and speed combined.
The fines and demerit points imposed for distracted driving have increased. Now, distracted driving carries a fine of $490, a fine of up to $1,000 if you decide to fight the ticket and lose and three demerit points upon conviction. If you are a new driver with a G1 license, your first occurrence can result in a 30 day suspension of your license, a second occurrence, a 60 day suspension and a third occurrence will result in a license cancellation and removal from the Graduated Licensing System. The most severe sanctions are imposed on drivers that have been shown to have endangered others because of distraction. This can carry a charge of six demerit points, fines up to $2,000 and a possible jail term of six months. But a far higher price to pay is your life or that of someone else.
According to MTO’s website, you may not operate any hand held communication and electronic entertainment devices while driving or view any display screens unrelated to your driving activity. Hand held devices would include iPods or any MP3 players, GPS, cell phones, laptops or portable DVD players..
What you can do is operate devices that are equipped with “hands free” capability. According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, a hands free device is “any device that you do not touch, hold or manipulate while driving, other than to activate of deactivate it. For example, actions such as dialing or scrolling through contacts, or manually programming a GPS device are not allowed.”
In other words, you may use wireless communication devices with an earpiece, lapel button or Bluetooth capability. You may use a GPS device that is mounted to the dashboard or built into the vehicle as long as you do not manipulate it by hand. MP3 devices that are built into the vehicle are also allowed,
If you have been hurt by a distracted driver, we suggest you seek legal advice. It is peace of mind to know what your rights are after any traumatic event. Call our team at A M INjury Law for a free consultation to know what your recourses are as a victim of a distracted driver. We have protected the rights of citizens in Cornwall, Huntsville, Leamington and the surrounding areas. We look forward to protecting your rights as well.