Distracted driving continues to be a growing problem on our roadways and officers in West Division are conducting focused enforcement this week.
While talking or texting on phones is generally the first thing that comes to mind when defining distracted driving, it certainly isn't limited to these actions. Monitoring kids in the vehicle, talking to passengers, fiddling with the stereo or the GPS, eating, grooming and reading billboards are all examples of various forms of distracted driving. These actions can put your safety, and the safety of others at risk.
According to Ontario.ca, the easiest way to avoid penalties for distracted driving is to avoid using a hand-held device when you're behind the wheel. It doesn't matter if you are stopped at a red light or on the highway. In fact, simply holding a phone or other electronic device while driving is against the law.
In Ontario, penalties for distracted driving include fines from $490 up to $1,000 and a loss of three demerit points or licence suspensions for novice drivers. If you endanger others by distracted driving you face more serious charges of Careless Driving or Dangerous Driving. Penalties for these infractions include loss of license, loss of demerit points and possible jail time.
To avoid distracted driving:
*Turn off your phone or switch it to silent mode before you get in the car. Put it in the glove compartment, or in a bag on the back seat
*Download an app that can block incoming calls and texts, or send automatic replies to people trying to call or text you
*Ask a passenger to take a call or respond to a text for you
*If you must respond, or have to make a call or send a text, carefully pull over to a safe area
*In an emergency, you can use your phone to call 911, but be sure to pull off the road to a safe area to make the call
*Set up your destination on your GPS before leaving your location
*Do your grooming and eating before hopping in your vehicle
*Try to limit other distractions inside your vehicle and pay attention to the road
Take a moment to watch our videos on the "Big 4" killers on our roads here. Being responsible and conscious of road safety goes a long way in helping keep our roads safe for everyone. Respect the rules of the road, and make sure you arrive safely.
Distracted Driving (JPG file, 261.6K bytes)