Distracted Driving Ontario: What you should know

Jul 17, 2017

Put down the phone is a distracted driving movement in Ontario, that aims to reduce the amount of accidents caused by drivers using their cell phones while driving. Cell phone related accidents are the most common distracted driving charge and are the primary reason distracted driving collisions have doubled in the last decade, they are not the only illegal distraction.

Distracted driving can also happen when drivers are using their GPS, scrolling through playlists, eating or checking maps. If your distraction endangers other drivers or pedestrians you could face charges for careless driving.

What distracted driving acts are considered illegal?

The Ontario Highway Traffic Act considers operating handheld devices while driving illegal. Devices include cell phones, music players, GPS and other electronic devices.

Ontario law states that it’s against the law to:

  • operate hand-held communication and electronic entertainment devices while you’re driving
  • view display screens unrelated to your driving

It is legal to operate a hand-free device, but only to activate or deactivate the device. It is illegal to scroll, input or dial from that device.  

It is also illegal to operate a device while stopped at a light.

What are the Ontario Distracted Driving law penalties and fines?

If you are convicted on a distracted driving charge, your fine and penalty is dependent on your type of license and the amount of time you have been a driver.

Fully Licensed Drivers (Class A-G)

  • a fine of $400, plus a victim surcharge and court fee, for a total of $490 if settled out of court
  • fine of up to $1,000 if you receive a summons or fight your ticket
  • three demerit points applied to your driver’s record

Graduated Licensing Program holders

  • first occurrence will result in a 30-day licence suspension
  • second occurrence will result in 90-day licence suspension
  • licence cancellation and removal from the Graduated Licensing System for a third occurrence

No demerit points will be taken from the graduated licensing program drivers or “novice driver.

What are the penalties for Careless Driving?

You may be charged for Careless Driving under the Highway Traffic Act or the Criminal Code of Canada if your distraction endangers others. The following are the penalties and fines for Careless Driving in Ontario:

  • 6 demerit points
  • Fines up to $2000 and/or jail term of six months
  • License suspension up to two years

You could also be charged with dangerous driving which is a criminal offence and requires a jail term. Dangerous driving can result in a serious motor vehicle accident that causes injury or death, if you’ve been injured by a dangerous driver, you need to speak with a personal injury lawyer.

What to do if you’ve been injured by a Distracted Driver in Niagara

Distracted driving is the leading cause of motor vehicle collisions. If you have been in an accident that resulted from distracted driving you need a personal injury lawyer to ensure that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to. Contact one of Chown Cairns experienced Niagara Personal Injury lawyers to discuss your accident.