Come January 1, 2019, Ontario will enact come of the toughest distracted driving laws in all of North America. According to provincial police, distracted driving is now the number one cause of accidents in our province. As Trenton injury lawyers, we see the consequences of accidents involving distracted drivers every single day. Although many may not be aware of it, driving while distracted has been proven worse than impaired driving.
What Does Ontario Consider a Distraction?
Our government sees anything that takes your attention away from the road as a potential distraction. That means that a distraction is not only limited to electronic devices. The RCMP even warns that eating while driving can result in fines or six demerit points depending on the situation.
Just the act of typing a destination into your GPS can warrant a distracted driving citation. Holding your cell phone but not using it? That is a distraction. This includes anything that you are doing behind the wheel, even if stopped at a red light.
Our Current Tough Laws Have Not Been Enough
Ontario has decided that the current tough laws are simply not enough. If you are caught driving under the new distracted driving criteria, you will face an automatic suspension of your driver’s license, a large fine, and demerit points against your driving record. With each subsequent offense, the severity of the punishment increases exponentially, as follows:
● The first offense will result in three days license suspension and a $1,000 fine.
● The second offense will result in a seven-day license suspension and a $2,000 fine
● The third and any subsequent offenses will result in a thirty-day license suspension, a $3000 fine, and six demerit points.
These new driving laws are soon to be enacted and will take place officially on the first of the year 2019. Although police will not be able to seize the license at the roadside, it will hold a court conviction when it appears before a judge.
No More Warnings
Although Ontario laws are notoriously tough on distracted driving, it has not made enough of an impact on the accidents we are still seeing every day as a result of drivers operating motor vehicles while distracted. The OPP has vowed that offenders will no longer be getting off with warnings as they have in the past. Although the OPP felt warnings served a good purpose when distracted driving laws were new, now that they have been in effect for a number of years, warnings are no longer needed. Drivers should already consider themselves warned.
Know Your Rights
If you have been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, you have rights to compensation for your injuries. Call the Trenton personal injury lawyers at AB Injury Law for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights after an accident.