Following its 2009 decision to ban drivers from using a mobile device while driving, the Government of Ontario has passed new legislation that will impose even harsher penalties on those who are caught looking at something other than the road while driving.
Fines for distracted driving now start at $300 and go as high as $1000—previously, the celling for fines used to be $280. Additionally, drivers who are convicted of distracted driving will receive three demerit points.
The province’s Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, said of the new law, “Ontario’s roads are among the safest in North America and this new legislation is intended to keep it that way. I look forward to continued collaboration with our law enforcement and other dedicated road safety partners to implement these measures.”
These new fines “will come into force over the coming months”. The government notes that using any of the following devices, including an iPod, GPS, MP3 player, cell phone, smartphone, laptop or portable DVD player will result in a fine, though there’s no mention yet of a certain smartwatch.
The Ontario Provincial Police recently released statistics that showed 45 out of 168 vehicle-related deaths in 2013 were caused by distracted driving, and while we’re less than halfway through 2015, the OPP says that there have already been 12 distracted driving-related deaths. If this number continues to climb, the OPP suggest it’ll be the “seventh consecutive year in which inattentive driving surpasses impaired driving as a causal factor in the fatal collisions.”