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Ontario, following the new drug-impaired driver rules, has announced new distracted driving laws. The proposal seeks to increase the fines and penalties associated with distracted driving. Punishments would be dramatically increased for repeat offenders. Considering one person is killed on Ontario every 17 hours, distracted driving plays a large role in this. Meanwhile, one person is injured in a distracted driving accident every half hour. The new laws being proposed include:

CARELESS DRIVING CAUSING DEATH OR HARM

An entirely new law being proposed would target anyone driving carelessly that results in the death or bodily harm of someone. The punishment would include a licence suspension up to five years, as well as up to two years in jail. There would also be a fine ranging from $2000 to $50,000, and a six-demerit point punishment.

NEW DISTRACTED DRIVING LAWS: INCREASED PUNISHMENT

The current law on distracted driving would be increased on repeat offenders. If you have been issued a distracted driving offence in the past, a second conviction would come with up to $2000 in fines. Three or more convictions would come with up to $3000 as a fine. You would also be issued six demerit points for multiple offences. That’s one of the biggest new distracted driving laws.

NOVICE DRIVERS COULD LOSE THEIR LICENCE

If you’re a new driver with a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence, make sure you’re never distracted behind the wheel. While subject to the above punishments, being convicted of three or more would also see your licence canceled.

PROTECTING PEDESTRIANS

When pedestrians approach crosswalks or other places they might cross – utmost care must be provided by the driver. You already need to wait for the pedestrians to cross fully before you proceed. An update to the law will increase the fine if drivers fail to yield to pedestrians crossing. Right now, the fine is up to $500, but, it is being increased to $1000 as a maximum fine.

HOW TO AVOID DISTRACTED DRIVING

The rational advice to any isure client is to NEVER drive with any distraction. You’re 23-times more likely to be in an accident by looking at your phone for a couple seconds. Don’t take that risk! We created a detailed guide on how to avoid distracted driving. Some tips include:

  • Putting your phone on silent or airplane modes.
  • Give your phone to another person in the vehicle.
  • Use in-car Bluetooth systems.
  • Use on-steering wheel controls for your radio, or let others handle the music.

It’s of utmost importance that Ontario drivers avoid distracted driving. We cannot stress that enough. If you’re still not convinced by heavy fines and risks, consider long term financial impact. Enough distracted driving or demerit points gained will cost you when you renew your insurance. This is especially true if you get labeled a high risk driver, as high risk insurance is quite expensive. Focus on the road, whoever texted you can wait!

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