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In Ontario, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000. With texting and driving always in the news, we wanted to ensure our clients are aware of the current penalties are for distracted driving.

What counts as distracted driving

When you aren’t focused on the road, things can happen fast. Using your phone to talk, text, check maps or choose a playlist while you’re behind the wheel all count as distracted driving and they put you and others at risk. Other activities like eating, reading or typing a destination into GP are also dangerous when you’re behind the wheel. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a highway or stopped at a red light distracted driving could cost you.

Penalties for distracted driving

The easiest way to avoid penalties for distracted driving is to not use a hand-held device when you’re behind the wheel. It’s against the law to us hand-hel communication (e.g your phone) and electronic entertainment devices (e.g DV player, e-reader) while driving. In fact, simply holding a phone or other device while driving is against the law. Instead, use a hands-fre device (e.g Bluetooth) or securely mount your device to your dash.

If convicted, the penalty you face depends on the kind of licence you hold and how long you’ve been driving:

Drivers with A to G licences

  • a fine of $490, if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)
  • a fine of up to $1,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose three demerit points

Novice driver (G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence)

If convicted of distracted driving, you will face the same fines as drivers with A to G licences. But you won’t receive any demerit points. Instead of demerit points you’ll face:

  • 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
    Distracted driving affects everyone.

If you have any questions contact your dedicated SurNet broker today and please drive safe everyone!