Personal Injury Lawyer Ottawa David Hollingsworth on distracted driving… With the increase in distracted driving fines last month there has been a lot of information about distracted driving released. The most startling fact is that Ontario Provincial Police announced that distracted driving is the number one killer on our province’s roads. More people died as a result of distracted driving than any other reason in Ontario. According to the Ontario Provincial Police, last year there were a total of 78 fatal accidents related to distracted driving, 57 fatal accidents related to impaired driving and 44 fatal accidents related to speeding.
Earlier this month, a new legislation was put in place and saw fines for distracted driving rise from $225 from $155. The Ontario government is also proposing new legislation that would further penalize distracted drivers by having them lose 3 demerit points, as well as give judges the authority to raise the amount of distracted driving fines up to $1,000. In other serious cases, police also have an option of laying a “Careless Driving” charge under the Highway Traffic Act. The Careless Driving charge has serious penalties such as a loss of 6 demerit points, fines of up to $2,000 and possible jail time. The question remains …will this be enough to deter drivers?
I also wanted to mention that distracted driving happens at all age levels, young and old. It’s not just new drivers and “the younger generation”. We now live in a world where many; young and old, are glued to their devices for work and personal reasons. It’s important to note that distracted driving is not just talking and texting on your phone. It’s taking your eyes off the road. Distracted driving can include getting something out of your purse, tending to children in the back seat, changing radio stations etc…Essentially it can be anything that diverts your attention. The distracted driving section of the Highway Traffic act law only deals with handheld electronic devices. This means that these other activities can be very distracting and dangerous but they are not against the law. According to The Ministry of Transportation Ontario’s distracted driving law is aimed at a particular form of distracted driving; which is the use of hand-held communication and entertainment devices and display screens. In time, will we need to revisit was is legally considered “distracted driving” ?
Please focus on the road. We need every driver on the road to be concentrating on the roads and their surroundings so that our roads are safer for everyone. Drive safely !