Drilling Down on Distracted Driving Tickets
Distracted Driving Tickets
The words “Distracted Driving” are not actually written into the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. Instead, the law deals with handheld devices like, smartphones, cellphones, i-pods, computers, GPS units, MP3 players, and Gameboys. The law places its focus on display screens.
Found in the Highway Traffic Act under Section 78 it states “ Display screen visible to the driver prohibited” and 78.1 “Handheld devices prohibited”. On June 2, 2015 the Ministry of Transportation increased the current fine range from $60.00 to $1000.00. If you fight the ticket by going to court and you lose you could face fines of up to $500.00. This is no time to try to defend your self, alone. You’ll need expert representation. Trafficticket.legal is a team of expert professional paralegals and lawyers who are experienced members of the Law Society of Upper Canada. They can provide you with the representation you need to protect your driving record.
Backgrounder See the
Enhancing Road Safety in Ontario
June 2, 2015 12:20 P.M.
Ministry of Transportation
Changes to the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act and subsequent supporting regulatory amendments to the Highway Traffic Act, Provincial Offences Act and Highway 407 East Act include:
- Increasing the current fine range from $60 to $500, to $300 to $1,000
- Assigning three demerit points upon conviction of a distracted driving offence
- Adding distracted driving convictions for novice drivers that will result in the following escalating sanctions:
· First conviction – 30 day suspension
· Second conviction – 90 day suspension
· Third conviction – license cancellation i.e. driver must return to the start of the graduated licensing program.
What about the new Apple WATCH?
The Canadian Automobile Association has not yet taken a position on how smart watches should be treated under the law.
What about distractions like the new touch screen on your dash board or driving and putting on make-up or driving and shaving, or flossing, or eating, or groping for the baby bottle to pass to your child in the back car seat?
It’s up to Police interpretation. If you endanger anyone because of distractions like those written above, you can be charged with Careless Driving. If convicted you will have:
- A license suspension up to two (2) years
- A jail term of up to six (6) months
- Six demerit points
- Fines up to $2,000.00
- Insurance rate increases affecting you for a lengthy period of time
Alternatively, the Police could charge you with Dangerous Driving, which is a criminal offence under section 249 in the Criminal Code of Canada. The Criminal Code of Canada makes it an offence to operate or drive a vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to the public.
The Police and the Court will consider the circumstances of your actions such as;
- Was there a danger to the public
- Who was present
- Did the driver plan on doing it
- Proof of an intention to operate the vehicle without the standard care that a driver would be expected to do normally
- The amount of traffic expected to be present
- The nature, conditions and the use of the space
If you were convicted of a Dangerous Driving charge you would face;
- Criminal record for life
- Automatic one-year driving license suspension
- Jail term
- Huge increase in Insurance rates
- Denied Insurance coverage
Currently, distracted driving is the cause of almost as many accidents and deaths on the road as dangerous driving or DUI. Ontario has decided to hike up penalties for distracted drivers by imposing three demerit points in addition to a maximum fine of up to $1,000.00
This is what you cannot do when it comes to the Ontario’s Distracted Driving law, as it stands now;
- View Display Screens unrelated to driving like laptops, tablets, DVD players
- Text Message; Dial; email except for 911
- Use smart phones or cell phones except with an earpiece, lapel button, Blue-tooth
- Use I pods; MP3 players, Gameboys
- Program a GPS device, except by voice command
To avoid the more serious charges of Careless Driving and Dangerous Driving, keep both hands on the wheel and focus all your senses on driving safely. Even hands-free is risky, as research shows us. If you need legal help with a Distracted Driving ticket or a Careless Driving or Dangerous Driving charge, contact trafficticket.legal for a free consultation with its team of experienced paralegals. They will come to you on or off regular work hours to give you the support you need.