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Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel - OPP cracking down on distracted driving

OPP Distracted Driving Campaign runs this week
distracted driving AdobeStock
The OPP Distracted Driving Campaign begins Monday March 12 and runs through Sunday March 18. (File)

The OPP Distracted Driving Campaign begins Monday March 12 and runs through Sunday March 18. 

Members of the OPP Sudbury Detachment and the Highway Safety Division are participating in this road safety initiative. Officers will be focusing on distracted driving and educating road users in an effort to change driving behaviour and save lives. 

Studies show that a driver using a cell phone is four times more likely to be in a collision than a driver focused on the road. Further studies show that dialing and texting carry the highest degree of risk of all cell phone related activities.

There are three types of distractions when driving: 

  • Visual attention - taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual attention - taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive attention - taking your mind off what you are doing

"All of these can endanger lives, but texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction," said an OPP news release. 

The fine for driving while holding a hand-held device or having a screen visible to the driver is now $490 and three demerit points.

The law makes it illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial and/or email using hand-held cell phones or other hand-held communications and entertainment devices. 

Hands-free means that the device is not held during use and the driver is not physically interacting with, or manipulating it. Actions such as dialing, scrolling through contacts, or manually programming a GPS device, for example, are illegal. 

"Many drivers today tend to view driving as a simple everyday task that requires minimal attention. The reality is that driving is a complex task which requires your full attention," said the OPP news release.

"Remember, you are operating a heavy piece of machinery at high speeds. You are navigating in diverse weather conditions while calculating speeds and distance, plus always responding to other drivers and obstacles.

Don't drive distracted. It could kill you or someone you love. Drive responsibly and respect the lives of everyone on Ontario roads."