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Clarifying Ontario’s Distracted Driving Laws

Posted Feb 28th, 2020 in Media, General, Insurance Tips, Auto Insurance, Did You Know?, In the News

The Province of Ontario has implemented stricter distracted driving laws and here is everything you need to know, including helpful clarifications.


Clarifying Ontario’s Distracted Driving Laws, Youngs Insurance, Ontario

If you didn’t know, in 2019, Ontario implemented harsher punishments with regard to distracted driving. Well, it’s a new year and guess what? You need to refresh yourself on the penalties associated with distracted driving and we’ve outlined everything you need to know.

What’s permitted?

According to Ontario.ca, you are permitted to use the following:

  • a hands-free device (e.g. Bluetooth) but only to turn it on and off
  • a mounted device (e.g. phone, GPS) as long as it is secure (and doesn’t move while driving)

What's considered distracted driving?

Everything below is classified as distracted driving and illegal in Ontario.

  • Using your phone/hand-held device to talk, text, dial (aside from calling 911)
  • Viewing a screen/device for ANY reason at all (unrelated to driving)
  • Touching/programing a GPS, except using voice commands
  • Using any electronic device, tablet, gaming console, etc.

Clarifying careless and dangerous driving

It’s imperative you know that you can be charged with careless or dangerous driving in addition to distracted driving. Dangerous driving is a criminal offence that carries substantial penalties including jail.

Careless driving is classified as participating in any activity that endangers anyone on the road because of you being distracted. This even includes issues caused by the use of hand-held and hands-free devices. We’ve outlined other activities that are considered causes of careless driving:

  • Smoking
  • Grooming
  • Drinking or eating
  • Reading
  • Reaching for objects

What are the penalties?

If you have one of these Ontario driving licences - A, B, C, D, E, F, G and/or M licence here is what you’ll face if convicted of distracted driving (as outlined on Ontario.ca).

FIRST CONVICTION
  • Ticket: $615
  • Fine: $1,000 (if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose)
  • Demerit Points: 3
  • Suspension: 3-day
SECOND CONVICTION
  • Ticket: $615
  • Fine: $2,000 (if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose)
  • Demerit Points: 6
  • Suspension: 7-day
THIRD OR MORE CONVICTION
  • Ticket: $615
  • Fine: $3,000 (if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose)
  • Demerit Points: 6
  • Suspension: 30-day

It’s important to note that new drivers with either a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence face the above punishments, with the exception of demerit points. Rather than demerit points, they’ll experience longer suspensions.

  • First conviction is a 30-day licence suspension
  • Second conviction is a 90-day licence suspension
  • Additional conviction is licence cancellation
Furthermore, if convicted your Insurance Carrier may cancel or non-renew your insurance policy.

At this point in time, we’re all aware of the dangers associated with distracted driving. Considering these new penalties, it’s apparent that Ontario is taking a strong stance to further dissuade drivers. It’s simple, when you’re driving, lock up your phone so you cannot even be tempted, it’s definitely not worth the ramifications.

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