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What is Distracted Driving in Ontario?

Criminal Charges
jason-baxtorJason Baxter

Many people feel they know what is distracted driving in Ontario, though few really do. But that’s not anyone’s fault. The charge became better known after the increase in cases due to the use of cell phones.  So, many people will tell you that distracted driving is talking on your phone while driving. And they aren’t wrong.

But, using your cell phone while driving is just one way to get a distracted driving traffic ticket.

What Constitutes Distracted Driving in Ontario

Ontario’s distracted driving laws apply to the use of hand-held communications, entertainment devices and particular display screens.

When you are driving, which includes when you are not moving in traffic for any length of time, or at a red light or stop sign, you may be charged with distracted driving if you are found doing the following:

  • Using a smartphone, cellphone or another hand-held wireless communication device to communicate, text or dial.  You can use a device to call 911 in an emergency, but you should pull off the road before placing the call.
  • Using a hand-held electronic mobile and/or entertainment devices, such as a tablet computer or portable gaming console
  • Viewing display screens unrelated to driving, such as watching a video – even if your vehicle has self-driving features
  • Programming a GPS device, except by using voice commands

Penalties for Distracted Driving Convictions

If you are convicted of distracted driving, you may be liable for one or more of the following penalties:

First conviction

    • $615 fine – if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)
    • Up to a $1,000 fine – if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose
    • 3 demerit points
    • 3-day driver’s license suspension

Second conviction

      • $615 fine – if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)
      • Up to a $2,000 fine – if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose
      • 6 demerit points
      • 7-day suspension

Third and further conviction(s)

        • $615 fine – if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)
        • Up to a $3,000 fine – if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose
        • 6 demerit points
        • 30-day suspension

Your car insurance provider may consider a distracted driving conviction as a serious infraction. As such, they may significantly increase your premiums, revoke discounts and even refuse to renew your policy.

The serious and costly consequences of being convicted of a distracted driving charge make it crucial that you defend yourself and protect your rights under the law.

X-Copper’s team of former police officers and top traffic ticket defense lawyers are experienced in defending against distracted driving charges. They use that experience, and their knowledge of criminal law, law enforcement and court procedures to offer informed legal advice to safeguard your rights and get the best outcome.

If you found this post helpful, check out our recent article “What You Should Know About Failure to Stop at a Stop Sign Tickets“.

 

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