Distracted driving is a rapidly growing problem that impacts hundreds of Ontarians every day. Nowadays, it’s almost an even bigger problem than impaired driving; in fact, distracted driving causes 8 in 10 collisions in Canada. Distracted driving is defined as “the practice of driving a motor vehicle while engaged in another activity, typically one that involves the use of a mobile phone or other electronic device.”

Distracted driving laws in Ontario typically only apply to using handheld devices, like your phone, and electronic entertainment devices, such as a DVD player or e-reader. Simply holding one of these devices while driving can get you in trouble with the law. A single tap on your cell phone screen can get you fined anywhere between $615 – $1000, 3 demerit points and a license suspension for 3 days, and that’s just for a first-time offense.

For a second time offense, your punishment can be:

  • A fine as high as $2000
  • 6 demerit points
  • A license suspension for 7 days

If convicted for the third time, you can expect this:

  • A fine as high as $3000
  • 6 demerit points
  • A license suspension for 30 days/license cancellation
  • Potential jail time for 6 months

This is just if you’re caught holding or using a device. If you actually hit or injure someone while driving distracted, you can face criminal charges for careless and/or dangerous driving. If you injure someone, you can face up to 10 years in jail, and if you kill someone, you can face up to 14 years.

So, let’s talk about how to avoid distracted driving and prevent any of these charges. You can use handheld devices if you have Bluetooth, hands-free technology, or voice control enabled. Even then, the best idea is to just switch your phone off until you reach your destination.

If you or someone you love has been injured by a careless distracted driver, you are entitled to seek compensation within 2 years of the accident date. Reach out to Pranzitelli Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss your options.