Ontario’s Laws Alert Drivers To The Dangers Associated With Distracted Driving

Statistics make it clear that distracted driving has caused an increasing number of motor vehicle accidents. Authorities in charge of highway safety have sought help from legislators. The legislators in Ontario have passed laws that punish those drivers that refuse to heed warnings, regarding the dangers linked to various distractions.

The scope of the existing prohibitions

Those prohibitions pertain to every minute of the time that a motorist spends on the road. That includes those times when the motorist might be sitting at a traffic light or at an intersection. It does not include any span of time that a motorist spends at the side of the road.

The new laws call attention to the many ways by which electronic devices can create a distraction.

• The driver glances at a message on a hand held device.
• The driver texts a message.
• The driver’s fingers text a message. This action is not prohibited, if the driver plans to call the 911 emergency number.
• The driver’s eyes are staring at a tablet or another form of electronic entertainment.
• The GPS screen viewed by the person sitting behind the steering wheel is not built-into the dashboard, or is not securely mounted on the dashboard.

Penalties imposed on drivers guilty of distracted driving:

For a first offense, a driver must pay a fine of $615, upon agreeing to settle out-of-court. The motorist’s fine comes attached to an assignment of 3 demerits and a 3-day suspension of the same motorist’s license.

For a second offense, the fine remains the same, but the number of demerits increases to 6, and the length of the suspension extends to 7 days. For a third offense, the fine and the number of demerits goes unchanged, but the length of the suspension extends to 30 days.

Novice drivers do not get hit with demerit points. Still, those same drivers do endure a longer suspension of their license, should they be charged with distracted driving. By the same token, the fine for a more experienced driver could increase, if he or she has chosen to fight the ticket in court. If the driver’s luck does not hold, and he or she loses that court case, the size of the fine gets determined by the number of similar offenses. As per personal injury lawyer in Cornwall, a first offense calls for a fine of $1,000; a second offense brings a fine of $2,000. A third violation leads to imposition of a fine of $3,000.

Legal definitions work to limit the usage of other forms of distraction.

Performance of certain distracting activities gets defined as reckless driving. A list of such activities would include things like eating, reading or drinking while driving. Drivers’ hands must remain on the steering wheel.