THUNDER BAY – Put down that smartphone when you are behind the wheel. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) will be focusing on Distracted Driving this Labour Day Long Weekend from Friday, August 30 to Monday, September 2, 2019. The OPP will be out on the highways hoping to educate in an effort to change driving behaviour and save lives.
The OPP say that “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 dialling and texting carry the highest degree of risk of all cell phone-related activities.”
Drivers caught talking on their phones, texting, dialling or emailing using a hand-held device, such as a cell phone and other entertainment devices will be fined up to $1,000 with a three-day licence suspension and three demerit points upon conviction.
Drivers who receive a second conviction within five years face a fine of up to $2,000, a seven-day licence suspension and six demerit points.
For a third and all other subsequent convictions within five years, drivers face a fine of up to $3,000, six demerit points and they lose their license for 30 days.
If you hold a G1, G2, M1 or M2 license, and are convicted of distracted driving, you’ll face the same fines as drivers with A to G licenses. But you won’t receive any demerit points.
Instead of demerit points, you’ll face longer suspensions:
- a 30-day licence suspension for a first conviction;
- a 90-day licence suspension for a second conviction;
- Cancellation of your licence and removal from the Graduated Licensing System (GLS) for a third conviction.
To get your licence back, drivers would have to redo the GLS program.
Tips 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 (lock it, if you have to) or in a bag on the back seat.
- Before you leave the house, record an outgoing message that tells callers you’re driving and you’ll get back to them when you’re off the road.
- Some apps 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.
- Silence notifications that tempt you to check your phone.
Don’t drive distracted. It could kill you or someone you love. Drive responsibly and respect the lives of everyone on Ontario roads.