Distracted driving just got more expensive in Ontario
Ontario just passed the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act that will make distracted driving more costly for Ontario motorists. Recent studies have shown that by 2016 Ontario expects that if trends continue fatalities from distracted driving may exceed those from drinking and driving. With this in mind Ontario has taken steps to change that growing trend by making it more costly for Ontario motorists.
Ontario will increase fines and add demerit points for drivers convicted of distracted driving. Fines are currently $60- $500 but will now increase to a range of $300-$1000 plus 3 demerit points. There will be escalating sanctions for novice drivers.
Doing this is about to cost you more in Ontario.
Don’t get caught driving and using your cell phone
Here is a list of reminders on what is and what is not considered distracted driving in Ontario and most other jurisdictions:
It is illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial or email using a hand-held cell phone or other hand-held communication and entertainment device.
Drivers are also prohibited from being able to view display screens while driving from devices like laptops and DVD players.
Using your cell phone as a hand-held GPS, MP3 player, or any other hand-help purpose while driving is prohibited.
What is allowed:
You are able to use hands-free devices such as blue tooth headsets to accept and make calls as long as you push only ONE button to use the device. For example to accept a call.
You are allowed to use GPS devices that are properly mounted.
You are allowed to use portable audio players like MP3 players that are plugged into your vehicle’s audio system.
It is important to note using your cell phone as a hand-held GPS, MP3 player, or any other hand-help purpose while driving is prohibited.
You are allowed to call 911 in an emergency.
You can safely pull over or off the road so long as you are not impeding traffic and use your hand-held device.
You can still use display screens that are built into vehicles.
Little known exemptions:
If you ever saw a police officer on their phone and thought to yourself hey they are breaking the law, well you are wrong. They are exempt under this law as are paramedics, firefighters and other enforcement officers, while performing their duties.
Commercial drivers in transport-related industries and public service workers like transit and highway maintenance that rely on the uses of certain types of wireless devices (think CB’s) and display screen technologies in the performance of their duties are exempt until January 1, 2018.
Here are other changes motorists in Ontario can expect in the coming months:
• Apply current alcohol-impaired sanctions to drivers who are drug impaired.
• Introduce additional measures to address repeat offenders of alcohol impaired driving.
• Require drivers to wait until pedestrians have completely crossed the road before proceeding at school crossings and pedestrian crossovers.
• Increase fines and demerits for drivers who ‘door’ cyclists, and require all drivers to maintain a minimum distance of one-metre when passing cyclists where possible.
• Help municipalities collect unpaid fines by expanding licence plate denial for drivers who do not pay certain Provincial Offences Act fines.
• Allow a broader range of qualified medical professionals to identify and report medically unfit drivers and, clarify the types of medical conditions to be reported.
Summer is arriving and it also means driving season here. As we all hit the roads looking for fun in the sun remember, look around, pay attention and don’t drive while distracted, picking up that cell phone is not worth the cost, pull over or better yet, just turn it off until you arrive.
Peter Suess Transportation Consultant Inc better known as PSTC has been serving trucking companies in North America for over 20 years. Providers of risk management and compliance tools and services, we partner with carriers to help them protect their most important asset, their good safety rating. Call us today for your free quote 1-877-796-7016 Peter Suess Transportation Consultant Inc a family owned and operated business.