Ontario Police are cracking down on distracted driving with major penalties. The newest include stiffer fines and long-term consequences. Distracted drivers caught can face fines up to $3000.
First offenders could face a fine of up to $1000, three demerit points, and a three day license suspension. On a second conviction, drivers can face up to $2000, six demerit points, and a seven day license suspension. The amount only goes up from there for reoccurring offenders.
Fines remain the same for novice drivers but, suspensions are longer and the risk is there for license cancellation.
“If you hold a G1, G2, M1, or M2 license and are convicted of distracted driving, you’ll face the same penalties and same fines as A to G license drivers, but you won’t receive demerit points. Instead of demerit points, you’ll face longer suspensions. You will receive a thirty day license suspension on your first conviction, ninety day on the second conviction, and license cancellation on your third conviction,” said London Police Sergeant, Sean Harding.
Harding warns that it’s not just cell phone use that could have you paying a hefty fine.
“It’s anytime you are not focused on the road. You need to be focused on the road. Things happen very fast by looking down and your attention not being on the road for a few seconds.”
Increasing fines and consequences is all about education through enforcement, but tough penalties sometimes are not going to stop avid cell phone users. Harding provides a few pieces of advice for those who can’t leave the phone alone while driving.
“Turn it off. Put it in a spot where you can’t get to it. Put it in the trunk. Leave it at home. If you have a passenger, just ask them to send the message. Make a plan if you know you’re going to be tempted by the phone.”
The stakes are high by looking at your phone for just two seconds. Harding has a message for every driver who still chooses to be preoccupied while driving.
“You need to obviously take a different strategy. You know you shouldn’t, you know it’s wrong, so don’t. That’s the big message that we continue to reinforce.”
Again distracted driving is any form of looking away from the road and it does not matter whether the vehicle is moving or at a red light. Police will now be on high alert for distracted drivers.