There’s a reason why the police are cracking down on distracted driving in Ontario. With Waterloo police giving out more than 2,400 tickets for distracted driving in 2013 alone, it’s been slowly developing from something you’d never hear about into a province wide problem.
That’s why the Ontario police and the Canadian Auto Association (CAA) are getting together to kick off a six-week campaign that could decrease the number of distracted drivers. They want to work to decrease texting while driving, but also put the focus on distracted driving as a whole.
What is distracted driving exactly? Ontario police say it’s anything that takes your attention off the road, and that can be your smartphone, your passengers, your GPS system, or something as simple as eating while driving. And if you think this is only a problem for young teenagers texting from their phones while driving, think again – data from Ontario has found that people in the age range of 25 to 44 are getting the most tickets for distracted driving.
Distracted driving is a killer too – it’s now surpassing impaired driving on Ontario highways, and in 2013 there were 86 distracted driving deaths in Ottawa versus 65 deaths due to impaired driving.
Although it’s killing more people, the penalties for distracted driving aren’t as severe as those for impaired driving in Ontario. If you receive a ticket for distracted driving, it will net you $280 and no demerit points. There are plans by the Liberal party to legislate a new bill that will increase the fine up to $1000 and include 3 demerit points on your license, but it’s still up in the air.
You can expect to see the police out in full force for the next six weeks, so it’s a great time to keep your focus on the road and put an end to distracted driving.