For the fourth year in a row, distracted driving has taken more lives on Ontario roads than both speeding and drunk driving. In 2016, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) attributed 65 deaths to inattentive driving.
This trend appears to be continuing into the current year, as OPP has stated that distracted driving deaths in the province have dramatically risen in the first three months of 2017.
Eleven people have been killed in distracted driving accidents so far this year. That is three times the number of deaths from the same time period in 2016.
Distracted Driving Among the “Big Four”
Among the leading causes of traffic fatalities, known as the “Big Four,” distracted driving accidents caused the most fatalities in 2016, with 65 total. There were 55 speeding deaths, 53 fatalities related to seat belt usage and 45 drunk driving deaths.
Ontario law considers distracted driving as:
- Using a cellphone
- Checking maps or GPS navigation
- Choosing a playlist
- Scrolling through social media
Penalties for Distracted Driving
In Ontario, distracted driving is against the law. Specifically, drivers cannot operate a hand-held communication or entertainment device while behind the wheel. This includes viewing display screens that are not related to driving.
Simply holding a cellphone or another device or using one at a stop light is illegal. However, you can use hands-free devices if you do not hold, touch or manipulate it while driving.
If caught engaging in any of these acts, distracted drivers face strict penalties. A driver can face a fine of $400 in addition to a victim surcharge and court costs. Fines can reach $1,000 if a summons is issued or if the driver attempts to fight the ticket. Three demerit points are also added to the driver’s record.
Enforcement of Distracted Driving Laws
Since distracted driving laws went into effect in 2009, Ontario has seen more deaths from distracted driving each year than speeding or drunk driving. Since the laws’ introduction, 2012 was the only year that distracted driving was not the leading cause of traffic deaths.
OPP released these distracted driving statistics this week for the start of its March Break distracted driving campaign, which runs from March 13 to 19. This week, OPP has been ramping up enforcement of the province’s distracted driving laws.
Officials hope to see all residents, especially vehicle passengers, taking a stance against the use of cellphones and other distractions among drivers. The hope is that total intolerance for distracted driving will help change this life-threatening behavior.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a distracted driving accident, the Windsor car accident barristers at Greg Monforton will pursue justice for your family. Our legal team will guide you through the legal process, working to recover maximized compensation for funeral expenses, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
Call (866) 320-4770 for a free, no-obligation legal consultation.