February 1st marked the second anniversary of the distracted driving law that made it illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial or email using hand-held cellphones and other hand-held communications and entertainment devices. It also prohibits drivers from viewing display screens such as laptops and DVD players.
During the first year, DRP issued approximately 1,100 tickets, mostly to drivers who were observed holding a hand-held communication device, such as a cellphone.
The second year of the campaign had a dramatic increase over last year’s numbers with more than 1,800 tickets being issued. The breakdown is as follows: 1,667 for hand-held communication devices, 134 for entertainment devices and 20 for display screens being visible to drivers.
The municipalities of Ajax/Pickering (616) and Whitby (463) had the highest number of tickets issued in their respective locations by officers enforcing the new law.
The exception to this law arises if a motorist decides to dial 911 during an emergency situation such as the reporting of an impaired driver on the highway. A second exemption under the legislation on distracted driving, section 78.1 of the Highway Traffic Act, allows emergency responders like police, fire and ambulance to use hand-held devices. This provision excludes them while performing their duties.
Durham Police would like to remind all motorists in Durham Region that drivers are prohibited, by law, from handling electronic devices while operating motor vehicles.
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