What Is The Penalty For A Distracted Driving Ticket In Ontario? | MG Law

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What Is The Penalty For A Distracted Driving Ticket In Ontario?

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We all know that driving while on your phone or doing other activities can result in a pretty hefty distracted driving ticket. However, it appears that the fine for texting and driving isn’t deterring enough people.

Rates.ca’s fourth annual distracted driving survey revealed that 83% of Canadian drivers participate in at least one distracted driving behaviour behind the wheel. This includes activities such as making a phone call or eating. 43% of Canadians admitted to participating in even more distracting behaviour like texting or engaging with other technology.1

This behaviour, however prevalent, is confusing when most of the same people surveyed (58%) believe that distracted driving is the biggest cause of traffic deaths.

It’s important to understand that distracted driving doesn’t just continue to contribute to car accidents and traffic deaths, it also can lead to a hefty texting and driving ticket, and increased insurance costs.

How Much Is A Distracted Driving Ticket In Ontario?

As we’ve seen from the above survey, far too many people are continuing to drive while distracted. This has forced the Ontario police to continue to crack down on distracted driving, introducing a steeper fine for distracted driving at the beginning of 2022.

The distracted driving ticket cost varies depending on whether it’s your first offence or not.

A first-time distracted driving ticket now carries a fine of $615 to $1,000. Additionally, you will receive 3 demerit points and a 3-day licence suspension.

On your second offence, the distracted driving ticket cost goes up to $2000, 6 demerit points, and a 7-day licence suspension.

If you get caught a third time, the fine for distracted driving increases to a max of $3000, 6 demerit points, and a 30-day licence suspension.

However, if you don’t have your full licence and are still considered a novice driver (G1, G2, M1, or M2), you may face longer suspensions and may even lose your licence.

Distracted Driving Is Different From Careless Driving Or Dangerous Driving

It’s important to note that distracted driving and careless driving are two different fines.

If you receive a careless driving fine in Ontario, you may end up with:

  • A fine between $400 and $2000
  • Imprisonment of up to six months
  • A licence suspension for up to two years

What Is Considered Careless Driving In Ontario?

Careless driving, similarly, to distracted driving, has a rather broad definition. According to the Highway Traffic Act (HTA), distracted driving is defined as:

“Driving without due care, attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway; and, anyone, who chooses to put themselves and other road users at risk by driving aggressively or carelessly.”2

While the definition of careless driving is very broad, it means the driver was not:

  • Driving carefully enough
  • Considering the road conditions
  • Paying enough attention or care while driving
  • Being considerate of other drivers and persons using the road

It is important to note that you do not have to be driving dangerously or acting in a criminal manner to receive a careless driving fine. You also will not receive a criminal record for careless driving. However, you will receive a record on your driver’s licence.

What Is Considered Dangerous Driving In Ontario?

Dangerous driving, which is different from both distracted driving and careless driving, carries even stricter fines and penalties. The main difference is intent. Careless driving may cause a car accident, but you did not plan that accident. Whereas dangerous driving fines are from planned events, such as but not limited to street races.

How Does A Distracted Driving Ticket Impact Insurance Rates?

According to Rates.ca’s survey, a distracted driving fine can lead to a 23% insurance premium cost.

This means that the cost for distracted driving is much higher than the fine you will pay.

What Constitutes Distracted Driving In Ontario?

Texting is an obvious example of distracted driving. However, there are many things that may constitute distracting driving in Ontario. Drivers are not allowed to use or simply hold any electronic entertainment device or hand-held communication device. This rule applies even when your vehicle is stopped at a red light or stop sign. Holding the device, dialing on the device, or scrolling the device are all prohibited.

Other forms of distracted driving include:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Grooming or putting on makeup
  • Taking care of pets or children
  • Talking with other passengers
  • Reading directions or looking at maps
  • Any visual distractions outside of the vehicle which take your attention away

Essentially, any action or behaviour that takes your attention away from the road in front of you or harms your ability to drive can constitute distracting driving and may be subject to a distracted driving ticket.

Why Is Distracted Driving So Dangerous?

While behind the wheel of a vehicle, you can do serious damage, and even cause death, if you are not paying proper attention to what is happening in front and around your vehicle. If you take your eyes off the road for even 5 seconds while driving at 90 km/h, you have just essentially driven the length of a football field blind.

According to the National Safety Council, the use of mobile phones behind the wheel account for 1.6 million crashes every year.3

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has released a report stating that poor and/or careless driving has contributed to the majority of 107 fatalities that OPP-patrolled roads have seen so far this year.4

The last time the number of people killed in collisions reached the 100-person mark by mid-May was in 2012.

As this video uploaded by the Ontario Provincial Police shows, accidents can happen very quickly when driving. It’s crucial to always be alert and always give your full attention to the road.

If You’ve Been Injured By A Distracted Driver, MG Law Can Help You Get The Compensation You Need

Unfortunately, car accidents can occur at any time and at any place in Ontario. But there’s no need to feel alone. If you’ve been the victim of a car accident, our experienced car accident lawyers will help you navigate the legal, insurance, and healing processes. This way, you can get your life back on track.

Book a free consultation to learn more. Never suffer at the expense of distracted driving. Do something about it by contacting MG Law.

1. https://rates.ca/resources/83-percent-canadians-drive-distracted-survey

2. https://www.ontario.ca/document/official-mto-drivers-handbook/other-ways-lose-your-licence

3. https://www.caa.ca/driving-safely/distracted-driving/statistics/

4. https://www.kingstonist.com/news/opp-report-road-fatalities-in-ontario-headed-to-10-year-high/

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