The best way to stay safe while behind the wheel is to give driving your full attention. When you drive, you must be able to keep your eyes on the road at all times while still managing to glance at your side- and rearview mirrors every now and again. Fast reflexes are also an advantage as, when there is an emergency, a driver must be able to react quickly and make critical decisions in a snap.
This said, it is no wonder that multitasking while operating a motor vehicle can pose hazards to yourself and others on the road. According to the Ontario provincial police, distracted drivers are behind more vehicular accidents than any other factors. To address this concern, the government of Ontario updates the province’s distracted driving law.
The distracted driving laws in Ontario apply to using handheld communication or entertainment devices while operating a motor vehicle. This means that while you are driving, the law requires that you refrain from:
Unless calling the police, fire department, or emergency medical services, you are not allowed to use handheld devices even when stopped at a red light. If you must use these gadgets, pull off the roadway or properly park your vehicle. There are, however, certain instances when you can use your smartphone or other handheld devices even as a driver, such as:
As of January 2019, the acts considered prohibited under Ontario’s distracted driving law has been updated to include eating, drinking, holding a mobile phone, grooming, reading, changing the playlist, and typing destinations into a GPS device or looking at a map. There have also been cases where drivers looking at their smartwatch or wearing earphones were convicted for distracted driving.
If found guilty of breaking Ontario’s distracted driving law, the penalties you may face would depend on the kind of licence you have and how experienced you are as a driver. Individuals who hold A, B, C, D, E, F, G, or M licences face more severe penalties when convicted:
New drivers (G1, G2, M1, or M2 licence) who are caught breaking the distracted driving law will receive demerit points, but they will face longer suspensions:
When you’re caught breaking the law, the police will not seize your driver’s licence at the roadside. A judge’s approval must first be given before any driver’s licence can be suspended.
In addition to sanctions for acts contravening the new distracted driving law, authorities may also charge you for careless driving. This happens when you endanger other people due to any distraction, including those caused by handheld and hands-free devices.
If convicted of careless driving, you may receive the following:
Depending on how hazardous the acts performed may have been, you may also be charged with dangerous driving. This is a criminal offence that carries stiffer penalties, including jail time of up to ten years (if you cause someone to sustain bodily harm) or up to 14 years (if the incident resulted in death).
When you are pulled over by a law enforcer, try to stay calm. Cooperate with the officer and be careful not to do anything that they may perceive as threatening. When the police flag you, do the following:
Before the officer writes you a ticket, they will inform you of your violation. Signing the ticket is not an indication of guilt; it is the acknowledgment of your receipt of the ticket.
If you think that you have not committed any violation worthy of a traffic ticket or if you were charged with more serious offences, you may need legal help. Immediately call a lawyer for advice on what your next step should be.
If you have been involved in vehicular trouble, get in touch with Rooz Law Personal Injury Lawyers in North York. You can make an appointment by calling us at (416) 229-6000.
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