Distracted Driving

Most people would never drink and drive, but like alcohol and drugs, distractions can impair driving.

Just looking away from the road for two seconds doubles a driver's odds for being involved in a collision.

You can prevent distracted driving - check out the Leave the Phone Alone campaign.

What counts as distracted driving*

When you aren’t focused on the road, things can happen fast.

Using your phone to talk, text, check maps or choose a playlist while you’re behind the wheel all count as distracted driving – and they put you and others at risk.

Other activities like eating, reading or typing a destination into a GPS are also dangerous when you’re behind the wheel.

It doesn’t matter if you’re on a highway or stopped at a red light – distracted driving could cost you. *Source: Ontario.ca

Distracted driving fines and penalties are increasing

As of January 1, 2019, drivers found using any hand-held device can face a fine of up to $1,000, three demerit points and have their licence suspended for three days for a first offence.

Police may also continue to charge a driver with careless driving when not paying full attention to the driving task. If convicted of careless driving, a driver will automatically receive six demerit points, fines up to $1000 and a possible jail term of six months. In some cases, a driver's licence may be suspended for up to two years. This is one of Ontario's toughest rules of the road.

Texting isn’t the only distraction

A study by the University of Carolina Highway Safety Research Center found there are different distractions for different age groups:

  • Younger drivers are more likely to get distracted by changing or surfing through their music;
  • Drivers in their 30s are more often distracted by young kids in the car; 
  • Older drivers are often distracted by something outside the vehicle.

Why are first responders allowed to use phones and laptops while driving?

Drivers of police vehicles, fire vehicles and ambulances are exempt in the legislation from the prohibition on hand-held use. Regulation limits exemption so that it applies only while in performance of their duties.

Find out more about distracted driving from Ontario.ca.