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Police: Too many people still driving while distracted

Three tickets issued in just an hour for texting, talking on the phone behind the wheel

While the fines and other penalties have been increased, Greater Sudbury Police say too many people aren't getting the message about the dangers of distracted driving.

“Within one hour today, Const. Weber issued two Part 3 summonses for distracted driving offences,” police tweeted Friday. 

“One person was texting and driving and the other was talking on a hand-held device. If convicted, they will face a max $1,000 fine – not to mention higher insurance rates!” 

In Ontario, police said, one person is injured every 30 minutes because of distracted driving collision every half hour. Under laws that came into effect in January, the first fine is $1,000, plus a three-day license suspension and three demerit points. 

A second conviction will get you a $2,000 fine, a week long license suspension and six demerits. Subsequent convictions will cost you $3,000 and you'll lose your license for a month.

Some details on what constitutes distracted driving:

  • While you are driving, including when you are stopped in traffic or at a red light, it is illegal to use a phone or other hand-held wireless communication device to text or dial. You can only touch a device to call 911 in an emergency.
  • Hand-held electronic devices, such as a tablet or portable gaming console, are included under the law, as are view display screens unrelated to driving.
  • Even adjusting your GPS while driving is illegal, unless you can do it using voice commands.
  • Hands-free wireless communications devices — with an earpiece, lapel button or Bluetooth – are permitted. You can also view GPS display screens as long as they are built into your vehicle’s dashboard or securely mounted on the dashboard. 
  • You can use any device that you do not touch, hold or manipulate while driving, other than to activate or deactivate it. Actions like dialling or scrolling through contacts are not allowed.
  • Other actions such as eating, drinking, grooming, smoking, reading and reaching for objects are not part of Ontario’s distracted driving law. However, you can still be charged with careless driving (if you endanger other people because of any kind of distraction) or dangerous driving (causing bodily harm or death).