Fines increasing for distracted driving

According to the Ontario Provincial Police, distracted driving is a factor in 30 to 50% of traffic collisions on Ontario, but is probably much higher due to unreported incidents. Distracted driving is a danger to everyone but the good news is that it is preventable.

Messages about the risks of distracted driving are slowly being heard, but there is still more to be done to encourage everyone to keep their attention focused on the road while driving.  That’s why, as of March 18, 2014, the police will be increasing the fines for distracted driving from $155 to $280 as the latest effort to stop drivers from making that call or sending that short text while at the wheel.

Other than being on a cell phone, many people aren’t even aware of what is considered distracted driving, and when they could be fined. Distracted driving includes more than you may think:

  • Talking/texting on cell phones without Bluetooth
  • Holding/using MP3 Players
  • Using other handheld devices
  • Programming GPS devices
  • Watching display screens

What can you do?

  • If you see a driver demonstrating unsafe driver behaviour, you can submit a Citizen Report Form through the Halton Community Road Watch program. The police will send an information letter to the registered owner of the vehicle explaining that their vehicle was observed being operated in an unsafe manner at a specific time and location, and asks them to drive safely.
  • Take the pledge to drive distraction-free.
  • Turn off your cell phone or other non-essential devices when you drive.
  • As a passenger, remind the driver of the dangers of distracted driving.
  • Talk about distracted driving with your friends and family.
  • Still not convinced? Here are a few videos about the dangers of distracted driving. Caution, there are some disturbing scenes.

Halton Region is committed to enhancing the safety of our community. Please do your part to help keep our roads safe every day.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”