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.
Penalties for distracted driving
The easiest way to avoid penalties for distracted driving is to not use a hand-held device when you’re behind the wheel.
It’s against the law to use hand-held communication (e.g. your phone) and electronic entertainment devices (e.g. DVD player, e-reader) while driving.
In fact, simply holding a phone or other device while driving is against the law.
If convicted, the penalty you face depends on the kind of licence you hold and how long you’ve been driving.
Drivers who are engaged in the following distractions are more likely to be in a crash or near crash event compared with non-distracted drivers.
- Text messaging (or texting) on a cell phone — 23 times more likely
- Talking on a cell phone — 4 to 5 times more likely
- Reading — 3 times more likely
- Applying makeup — 3 times more likely
- Reaching for a moving object — 9 times more likely
- Dialing on a hand-held device — 3 times more likely
Drivers with A to G licences
If you have an A, B, C, D, E, F and/or G licence, you’ll face bigger penalties when convicted of distracted driving:
- a fine of $490, if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)
- a fine of up to $1,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose
- three demerit points
You could face more charges – for careless driving – if you endanger other people because of any kind of distraction. This includes distraction caused by both hand-held (e.g., phone) or hands-free (e.g., Bluetooth) devices.
If convicted of careless driving, you may receive:
- six demerit points
- fines up to $2,000 and/or
- a jail term of six months
- a licence suspension of up to two years
You could even be charged with dangerous driving – a criminal offence that carries heavier penalties, including jail terms of up to 10 years for causing bodily harm or up to 14 years for causing death.
General Cell Phone Statistics
Note: These are the most recent statistics available
- The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.
- Nearly 330,000 injuries occur each year from accidents caused by texting while driving.
- 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving.
- Texting while driving is 6x more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk.
- Answering a text takes away your attention for about five seconds. Traveling at 80 km/h, that’s enough time to travel the length of a football field.
- Texting while driving causes a 400% increase in time spent with eyes off the road.
- Of all cell phone related tasks, texting is by far the most dangerous activity.
- 94% of drivers support a ban on texting while driving.
- 74% of drivers support a ban on hand-held cell phone use.
In an effort to encourage our drivers to remove any temptation to use their phones while driving, we have found an app that will disable your phone while you are driving.
The app uses the GPS in your phone to tell if you are driving or not. If you are traveling a certain speed the app will disable all notifications from text messages, phone calls and other apps from appearing. Once the vehicle has come to a stop, all of the missed notifications will appear after several seconds.
The app also features a security measure that will allow for a person to disable the app in an emergency which will automatically notify a responsible third party that the app has been disabled.
You can find the link below or you can download it from your app store by searching for “Lifesaver – Distracted Driving”