Distracted Driving

The province of Ontario in an effort to prevent distracted driving is enforcing new laws as on January 1st 2019. The New Year will bring an increase in charges, a shift from minor to major convictions but also a change in the category of distracted driving.

Under the new distracted driving law, those convicted of a distracted driving offence will be penalized with fines, demerit points, and a license suspension.
What should you expect?
  1. $1000 fine, 3 day suspension and up to 3 demerit points for your first offense.
  2. $2000 fine, 7 days suspension and up to 6 demerit points for your second offence.
  3. $3000 fine, 30 day suspension and 6 demerit points for 3 or more offences.

For insurance purposes your demerit points will clear within 36 months but you have a driving abstract that remains for 6 years. The purpose of this is to determine subsequent convictions. You can obtain a copy of your driving abstract by visiting here

Distracted Driving Defined

It was established that distracted driving included using your cell phone to talk or text. The new list has several others added, some of which could be surprising to some. The government of Ontario has categorized the following items under the distracted driving offence. It has also shifted the chargers from a minor to major conviction.

  • Using a cell phone to talk or text
  • Typing a destination into a GPS
  • Reading
  • Holding an electronic device.
  • Changing a playlist
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Smoking

The purpose of this change is to try and eliminate accidents in connection with distractive driving. The number of accidents has doubled since 2000 and on average occurs every half hour according to RCMPs website. Distractive driving can be defined under three categories; visual, manual and cognitive. This simply means taking your eyes off the road, taking your hands off the wheel and lastly taking your mind off of driving.