New distracted driving penalties in effect
As of Jan. 1, penalties for driving with a hand-held wireless communication device (a portion of distracted driving) have increased for motorists in Ontario: Fine increases of up to $1,000; three demerit points for a first offence; three-day licence suspension. Penalties rise for subsequent convictions.
Novice drivers (G1, G2, M1 or M2) who are convicted of distracted driving will receive the same fines, but will receive longer licence suspensions as opposed to demerit points.
Distracted driving encompasses any behaviour that takes the driver’s attention away from operating their vehicle. There are three main types of distraction: Visual – taking your eyes off the road; Manual – taking your hands of the wheel; Cognitive – taking your mind off what you’re doing.
Drivers who cause a collision or exhibit very poor driving directly related to being inattentive (eating, drinking, reading a map, etc.) could be charged with Careless Driving. The fines and demerit points for Careless Driving remain unchanged.
For a complete list of the updated fine/suspension increases visit www.ontario.ca/page/distracted-driving.