The majority of Canadian provinces and territories have implemented laws that forbid the use of mobile devices while driving. The Ontario government banned the use of phones while driving five years ago, and the fine for those caught talking, emailing, texting, surfing the web, or even holding their device while driving starts at $280. Nunavut is the only outlier in that it does not have distracted driving laws in place.
In conjunction with National Safe Driving Week, TELUS has released a new survey that shows 36% of Canadian drivers admitted to using a smartphone while driving. This is similar to other surveys we’ve seen recently, but TELUS also noted that 70% of passengers are ‘uncomfortable’ when they see the driver using their device. People behind the wheel used their device to make non hands-free calls, check texts, read emails, take photos and capture videos.
“Distracted driving laws exist to protect all Canadians and while mobile devices have changed our lives for the better, we must recognize and respect that driving requires 100 per cent of our focus,” says Brent Johnston, senior vice president, Consumer Marketing at TELUS.
“As a leading national wireless carrier, TELUS has a responsibility to address distracted driving head-on by educating Canadian drivers to make smart and safe decisions and encouraging passengers to speak up.”
Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca recently tabled new legislation that could see the fine for those charged with distracted driving increase to $1,000 and three demerit points per infraction. Del Duca said, “There is still much more work the province can do and must do.” If the bill is passed, fines that used to range from $60 to $500 would jump to $300 to $1,000.