Distracted Driving and Motor Vehicle Accidents – What You Need to Know
What is Distracted Driving?
Too often, motor vehicle accidents are the result of distracted driving. You may be engaging in distracted driving activities without even realizing it. Distracted driving puts you and others at risk for a motor vehicle accident. Some common forms of distracted driving include the following:
- Cell phone use, including talking, texting, checking maps, or choosing a playlist;
- Eating; and
- Reading or typing a destination into your Global Positioning System (GPS).
The government of Ontario reports that since 2000, deaths caused by distracted driving have doubled. Their motor vehicle collision data from 2013 shows that a driver who is NOT using a phone is four times less likely to crash then a driver who is using a phone. The government also reports that every half hour one person is injured in a motor vehicle collision that was caused by distracted driving.
Did You Know?
It is against the law in Ontario to hold a phone or other electronic device, such as an e-reader, or digital video disc, while driving. It is however permissible to use a hands-free device or mounted device that is secure to the vehicle.
Novice Drivers (drivers that have a G1, G2, M1 or M2 license) that are convicted of distracted driving will face a 30 day license suspension for a first conviction. A second conviction will result in a 90 day suspension, and a third will result in cancellation of your license and removal from the Graduated Licensing System.
Drivers with A to G licenses that are convicted of distracted driving can face fines up to $1,000.00 and three demerit points.
In addition to being convicted of distracted driving, you may also be changed with careless driving, if you endanger other individuals due to a distraction. If convicted, you may receive 6 demerit point, fines up to $2,000.00, and a jail term of 6 months.
How To Avoid Distracted Driving:
You can do the following to minimize distracted driving:
- Silence your phone and any phone notifications before leaving your home;
- Have a passenger answer your phone or respond to a text message if a response is required; and
- Pull off from the road to a safe area if you must reply to an emergency phone call or text message.
For more information regarding distracted driving, visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/distracted-driving.