Toronto Police Service will launch a new distracted driving campaign on January 14th.
During this time, TPS officers will drive unmarked vehicles and ride on TTC vehicles in order to spot distracted drivers.
During the @TorontoPolice #DistractedDriving Campaign starting on Jan 14 Officers will be driving unmarked vehicles and riding on @TTChelps vehicles to spot drivers on the phone ^bm #LeaveThePhoneAlone pic.twitter.com/6ukZOwNiia
— TPS Traffic Services (@TrafficServices) January 9, 2019
The province enacted stricter penalties for distracted driving on January 1st. Now, those found using an electronic device while behind the wheel can face charges of $1,000, as well as a three-day license suspension and three demerit points. Last year, distracted drivers were charged $490 and given three demerit points with no license suspension.
A second offence can result in a $2,000 fine, seven-day license suspension and six demerit points, while a third infraction could mean a fine of up to $3,000 and a 30-day license suspension.
Although police will only charge drivers who are using a handheld device, the Government of Ontario defines distracted driving as any action that takes a driver’s attention away from the road. In addition to cell phone use, distracted driving can also include such activities as eating, reading, typing a destination into a GPS and switching between music playlists, says the province.
Drivers can miss as much as 50 percent of their surroundings when they’re not focused on the road, according to Canada’s Traffic Injury Research Foundation.