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distracted driving laws ontario

Do you understand Ontario’s distracted driving law?

Since August 31, 2017, Ontario has implemented and enforced distracted driving laws in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents on the road. While almost everyone is aware that this law prevents Ontarians from holding their cell phone while driving, many don’t know exactly what the law entails.

Read ahead to get a better understanding of what can get you fined:

What counts?

Contrary to popular belief, distracted driving is not limited to your cellphone.  Many people assume they’re fine as long as they don’t have a cellphone in hand. However, you can still get fined if you’re caught using any sort of hand-held entertainment device, such as a tablet or laptop.

You can also get fined if you’re caught using your display screen for something other than driving, such as watching a television show.

You are, however, allowed to use hands-free communication devices and can use a GPS as long as it’s either built into your dashboard or is safely mounted on the dashboard.

Traffic stops

Just because you’re waiting at a red light doesn’t suddenly mean you’re allowed to check your phone for messages while you wait for the light to turn green.

The law can be enforced at any time when you’re on the road. Unless you’re pulled off the roadway and aren’t impeding traffic, you’re not permitted to use hand-held devices behind the wheel.

Eating/Drinking

While eating, drinking, grooming, smoking, and reading are not part of Ontario’s distracted driving law, that doesn’t mean you won’t be charged. You can still be fined for careless or dangerous driving if you’re caught doing any of these activities, so don’t think you’re safe just because they don’t show up in the distracted driving law.

Penalties

As of the writing of this, drivers with A to G licenses will face a fine of $615 for their first conviction if settled out of court or a fine up to $1,000 if you fight the ticket in-court. They’ll also receive three demerit points along with a three-day suspension.

The fine can increase up to $2,000 the second time and up to $3,000 for the third conviction. In both cases, they’ll also receive six demerit points. They’ll receive a seven-day suspension the second time and a 30-day suspension on the third conviction.

How to avoid distracted driving

One of the best ways to avoid distracted driving is to know where you’re going. Plan your route ahead of time so you’re not constantly figuring out where to go when you should be concentrating on the road ahead.

If you’re someone who’s always tempted to check their phone, consider putting it on silent so you won’t hear any incoming notifications and/or messages. You can even go a step further by placing your phone in a place where you can’t possibly reach it, such as the backseat.

 

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