Toronto Police take aim at distracted drivers with the “Don’t Drive Distracted” campaign

Ian Hardy

February 11, 2013 8:32 pm


Using your handheld device while driving has been illegal in Ontario since October 26th, 2009 – this includes the use of a mobile phone to talk, text, email or surf the web. A recent survey commissioned by the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) showed that 65.9% of Ontario drivers never use their wireless device while driving. Looks like the Toronto Police is interested to make that number a bit higher.

Starting today until Sunday, February 17th the Toronto Police will embark on the “Don’t Drive Distracted” campaign. They’re looking to crackdown on those motorists who are breaking the law and using their mobile device while driving. If you’re caught you could face a fine upward of $500. The end goal is to make the roads safer.

Source: Toronto Police (PDF)

  • John Doe

    The iPhone 5 is the best device.

    • Please Pull over!!

      If you plan to use your phone for one or two calls while driving, whatever the circumstances GET A BLUETOOTH device!

      If you can’t wait to send your text, email, tweeter, FaceBook etc etc pull over (60 seconds at the most??) send whatever you had to send (1-3 minutes?) then pull out and keep on driving.
      You used the time you had to use to perform the task and only added 3 minutes max.

      The world won’t end if you don’t take the call (even if you are a surgeon, you are driving, so keep driving!) just pull over and see who called you and call them back, or wait for the Voicemail and check it with your Bluetooth. It’s common sense!

      I don’t take the time to write this to save your lives (If it was up to me I would let the people to keep using the phones while driving and let Natural Selection take their course and take out the week pool gene) but this is about saving innocent lives (other drivers, cyclist pedestrians and nice trees on the side of the road) just buy a $60 Bluetooth with a car charger, so that you never run out for batteries and USE IT.

      -Now if we could get a law about teenagers that never look both ways before crossing the street…..while TEXTING!!

  • iDiot

    best device to keep distracted because it never works the way it’s supposed to.

  • John

    Sounds like a great way to waste resources in a deficit.

    • Jamie

      Or make a bit of money and cover the cost of the officers on the road just by enforcing the amount of drivers that drive while distracted… It’s Toronto, no shortage of drivers there to make the streets safer and cover the costs of the campaign.

      Give your head a shake, these people take their own lives and the lives of others each year.

  • Allan

    Is it illegal to use your phone when you are waiting at a red light?

    • COBwiggy

      Technically, no. But you may get a ticket for it. You are SUPPOSED to be in ‘park’

    • Kid.Canada

      Yes because the whole point is to focus on driving only and plus you might not know when the light has turned green until the cars behind honk at you. Your full attention is supposed to be on the road which is the whole point of that law.

    • Jamie

      (6) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply if all of the following conditions are met:

      1. The motor vehicle is off the roadway or is lawfully parked on the roadway.

      2. The motor vehicle is not in motion.

      3. The motor vehicle is not impeding traffic.

      Your answer is number 2, technically not illegal but as soon as that light turns green or you have to pay attention and start making decisions your liable.

    • abc123

      Jamie wrote:
      “(6) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply if all of the following conditions are met:

      1. The motor vehicle is off the roadway or is lawfully parked on the roadway.

      2. The motor vehicle is not in motion.

      3. The motor vehicle is not impeding traffic.

      Your answer is number 2, technically not illegal but as soon as that light turns green or you have to pay attention and start making decisions your liable.”

      It is illegal because as the ALL of the conditions are not met… esp. #1. If you are stopped at a light, chances are the car is not in P (PARK).

  • the man with no name

    Agreed great way to waste time and resources that could be deployed elseware meanwhile our own mayor {no offense to Ford just trying to prove a point} has been caught multiple times texting while driving and even reading a newspaper as well as the countless times people have photographed police driving and operating a phone or the laptop in the cruiser.

    I agree that driving distracted is a bad thing but the fine was never meant to be a deterrent it was nothing more than a cash grab fine. Like really 155 dollar fine which is what it currently is really isn’t that big a deal. I’ve been told by cops themselves its not noted on a drivers record nor do you get and demerit points.

    • Allan

      Police wasting time and resources?…impossible.

    • COBwiggy

      It is LEGAL for cops to use their phones/laptops while driving, as they go through training specifically for that, to be permitted to do so.

    • Rio

      Would you stand by that statement when a family member of yours is hit by a car because the other driver was texting and driving?

  • ile2010

    Nobody’s wasting resources. It’s not like they’re setting up checkpoints.

    They just may enforce the ban for once.

    And it’ll be $500 precisely because $155 obviously isn’t a big enough deal to you guys.

    • the man with no name

      Don’t get me wrong I don’t promote distracted driving because it potentially has some serious negative outcomes. However up until now if the fine is going to stay at $500 permanently this has been one of those cases where the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

      On top of that if the charge is distracted driving why does it only apply to cell phones? Is one not distracted when lighting a cigarette or applying makeup? In one extreme case I’ve even seen one person driving down the street with his foot out the window attempting to cut his toe nails.

      Why isn’t enforced on these occurrences as well? Because although still a serious thing it remains a cash grab for the city nonetheless disguised as them trying to keep the streets safe.

    • xoxo

      If you have spare $500 I would love to see you paying, a*****e… keep licking cop’s asses…

    • Rio

      wow really? you guys are against this?

      I would rather see some chump get charged 500$ then have that same guy ram his car into someone.

  • Barack Obama

    Setting GPS while driving-legal.
    Setting Google maps on phone while driving-illegal?

  • Mike

    Buy a blue-tooth hands-free device for driving.
    It’s way cheaper then the fine!

  • Crank2

    Android fans AND homicidal maniacs on the ride? Who replace their shitty phones every six months?

    That’s it. I’m out. Bye bye crazy mobilesyrup.

  • zzZZzz

    I admit I might send a text while driving if important, but only if it’s not longer than a few words and the road is clear. Otherwise I pull over. Bluetooth for calling. Trying text to speech for texting a few times, but I actually found it more distracting when you have to correct errors.

    I do agree with the fines though, and it shouldn’t just be for phones. I’ve seen people simply putting make up on, smoking a cigarette AND driving stick at the same time. Now good multitasking on her part, but that’s simply too dangerous.

  • dizzle

    we have a bigger problem these fat donut eating hippos should take care of & that is guns but its only black ppl getting killed or minorities so doesnt matter. once it hits the white neighbourhood then we see some action.

    cops are thugs real thugs

    • Jay

      I’m not touching the race issue here but its true instead of putting the time into stopping drugs/arms trafficking or preventing violent crimes what are they doing? Giving us the illusion that they are making the city safer by going after the worst criminals of all!! Those despicable people who make a phone call while driving how dare they?!?!

    • Are Pee

      “but its only black ppl getting killed or minorities so doesnt matter”
      uhhh right.. How do you report posts again?

  • Rawrr

    Talk to text, guys! -_-“

  • hahabya

    TPS………..when they do it, it’s legal

  • Jeremy

    $155 and 3 demerit points. It’s province wide and has nothing to do with the city. Distracted driving charges apply to more than electronic devices but those are by far the most common offenders. GPS are included.

    The ignorance here is astounding. The enforcement of this kind of law has had a very real and large impact on safety and reduced loss of life in other parts of the world. Look it up instead of whining about not being able to use your cell phone in a dangerous situation where innocent lives are being destroyed.

    • Cigar Surgeon

      “The enforcement of this kind of law has had a very real and large impact on safety and reduced loss of life in other parts of the world. Look it up instead of whining about not being able to use your cell phone in a dangerous situation where innocent lives are being destroyed.”

      Does it? Can you cite any links that have statistical evidence showing tickets or tickets with demerits increases safety, reduces accidents or reduces loss of life?

  • jason

    Agreed it is dangerous to be distracted while while driving. If this campaign was about safety the police would simply make themselves visible by having their lights on and when people seen them they would think twice before using the mobile device. By trying to catch people and imposing fined it now becomes about money, not safety.

    • Jamie

      People tend to put the device down at the site of police or emergency scenes, only to pick them back up and continue what they were doing before. Safety through enforcement is what gets the message across.

      OPP have had this model in place for awhile now and every year fatalities are reduced on the roads they police. Look at the stats, it’s effective and why they do it. Otherwise we would just say screw the Highway Traffic Act.

  • Lex

    For the people saying that this kind of enforcement is too harsh and just a cash grab, try telling this to a friend of mine who lost her 3 y/o daughter because a driver ran them over while crossing the pedestrian crossing. The driver stopped at the stop sign but was too busy texting to see my friend and her daighter crossing. TRUE STORY!!!

  • Sam

    Sadly some the most distracted drivers on the road are cops. I guess some cops just think they’re above the law. I’ll never forget by my work a cop drove right into the back of another car, didn’t touch the breaks. She was on the phone. To her credit she was completely honest about it though.

  • Sam

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Talking on a cell I believe is fine for most drivers. Same level of distraction as talking to someone next to you BUT texting while driving requires a special level of stupidity and arrogance to pull off. Simply put, you deserve a punch in the face if you’re texting while driving let alone a ticket.

  • Falco

    Sam, I agree with you totally. I was one of the first to get a mobile in 1985. At that time, they were installed in the car so you could communicate while driving. And that’s all you could do….receive and make phone calls. In all those years I never tried to make a call while driving except to call police to report a drunk driver. Receiving a phone call was easy, just pick up the handset and put it back in its cradle when finished. If the call required recording information, then I would arrange to call the caller back. I still answer calls to-day, traffic conditions permitting, but driving is always priority. Texting, net surfing, etc. are out of the question for me as I have been blessed with some degree of intelligence and common sense and a willingness not to kill others or myself. It’s a relatively simple philosophy. I can also operate all my vehicle controls including the radio, without taking my eyes off the road. Oh yes, I can also drink coffee. Never spilled a drop. I have been hit 3 times by drunk,8 and I mean drunk drivers. When are we going to get serious about those? Bottom line, drunks and texters should have their licences revoked permanently because they JUST DON’T GET IT!

  • Hop Ho

    How about the situation where I use my mounted phone as a music player instead of my radio? When I enter my car, I use my NFC tag to turn on bluetooth, and start playing PowerAmp. On a mount while driving, I swipe my PowerAmp app to change songs. Is this illegal? It’s comparable to changing radio stations. I also use a quite shortcut to have my phone turn into a GPS when needed.

  • Nathen

    There are so many BAD drivers out there that it’s not even funny. Never mind the Text and Phone users , how about they ticket and take off the road the TAILGATERS, and most of all ….drivers that think they own the ROAD !! That would be your PICKUP and SUV drivers. They are the WORST!!

    • John

      Agree with the bad drivers comment but disagree with the ending I drive an SUV and I don’t think I own the road. There are people like that spread throughout drivers as a whole from every age bracket to vehicle type.

  • John

    Also to everyone commenting about not texting while driving (while this is bad) it does you no good to bash other people who do it and then in the same sentence go on to say that you make phone calls and do all kinds of other stuff. The law is against “Distracted driving” not just texting while driving according to them answering that phone call is just as bad. Unless you’re on bluetooth which somehow makes hearing the same voice less distracting.

  • JonQAnnpyed

    …I got a ticket in Toronto after work traffic on the highway (401).
    It was bumper to bumper, and we were doing 7-15 km/h, I had my cell in my hand, and i made a call, and then put it on speaker, as my bluetooth headset was in the back seat (stupid of me I know), I kept the phone in one hand while looking at the road and driving normally, considering we were not going fast at all. Black SUV drives up next to me and flashes the lights and sirens, I look over and the cop tells me to pull over, and then proceeds to hand me a ticket for driving while using my cell phone.

    This is a waste of my time, and really the cop probably wanted to meet his quota for the day, regardless, My problem with this is not that he upheld the law of unsafe driving, the problem that I have is, that IF I was holding a burger in that hand instead and eating, he would NOT have pulled me over, yet it is the same level of distraction, if not more, considering I have to constantly look at my hand to make sure I’m not spilling food.

    The law is for cellphones, yet people do so many things in their vehicles that to say only cell phones are distracting is ridiculous, and you might as well make a law that prohibits you from having cup holders, radio’s, gps systems, buttons in general in your car to stop you from getting distracted while driving…

    • abc123

      The way the law is written at the moment for distracted driving doesn’t truly reflect the original intent of it.

      It’s written in a manner that will generate the most amount of income.

  • abc123

    “Distracted” driving under the motor vehicle act is actually “operating an electronic device” while driving.

    There are two version of this one of which is a fine and includes demerit points and other is just a fine with no demerit points. Which one you get depends on what kind of cop issues the ticket and how well your a*s kissing skills are.

  • abc123

    We should all go on a crusade and video record all the hypocrite cops who play with their “electronic devices” while at a stop light and post them on youtube for the world to see. Because there is nothing we can do to get them to stop…

  • TrickyD

    This topic is so sad. It doesn’t matter who you are or what the call/text etc. is about, if you touch your phone on the road at all you are a moron. No excuses. I think the fine should be a MANDATORY $2000 fine and you lose your licence for a month. This ensures people with more money driving exotic and luxury cars don’t continue thinking they are above the law This has been scientifically proven to be more dangerous than drunk driving and ironically the worse of a driver somebody is, it seems to give them self entitlement to use their phone. Next time you see somebody on their phone honk incessantly until they hang up. Make them feel stupid and humiliate them.

  • Arjuna Gnanam

    I agree with the law, however I find it infuriating that police officers do it just (ON duty, IN squad cars) as much as civilians in their vehicles.

    And yes, I mean officers such as the one yesterday driving beside me with BOTH hands off the wheel, fiddling through his iphone.

  • Spikedlemon

    Maybe the police should check the 407. It’s easy to find them.

    That guy: travelling at 95km/h in the left lane? Clearly on his phone.
    That guy whose face is illuminated blue in the evening and drifting in his lane? On his phone.
    That girl: tailgating the guy in front and quickly slamming on the brakes anytime something happens? Clearly on her phone.