Deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000. Distracted driving has become an epidemic caused by smart phones, electronic devices, and trying to multitask while driving.
Unfortunately, this increase in collisions because of distracted driving means an increase in injuries as well. At Nyland Personal Injury Law, we often work with the victims of car accidents caused by distracted driving. While it seems that everyone recognizes the dangers of distracted driving, many people still engage in it. It’s important to understand its penalties and how to prevent it in order to keep yourself and others on the road safe.
At Nyland Personal Injury Law, we understand all of the intricacies and grey areas of the laws surrounding distracted driving. We can help you navigate them if you’ve been involved in an accident caused by distracted driving.
What is Distracted Driving?
In Ontario, distracted driving encompasses anything that takes your eyes off the road – it’s more than just texting and driving. Using your phone to text, talk, program GPS, choose a playlist, or watch entertainment all take your eyes away from the road. Use of other screens, like GPS devices, tablets, computers, or DVD players also fall into the category of distracted driving. Eating, reading, and putting on makeup all distract you, make you lose your focus, and put others at risk.
Doing any of these activities while on the road – whether on a highway or stopped at a red light – counts as distracted driving.
A distracted driving offence can be upgraded to careless driving or even dangerous driving if your distracted driving endangers, harms, or kills other people. This can happen quickly – all it takes is the 5 seconds it takes to answer a text message.
Penalties for Distracted Driving
In 2015, Ontario cracked down on distracted driving, increasing penalties and tickets for this offence. Using any hand-held device or electronic entertainment device while driving comes with consequences. Depending on your license class, it could cost you a fine of up to $1000 and three demerit points.
If you’re a novice driver, with a G1, G2, M1, or M2 license, the penalties for distracted driving are slightly different. You will face the same fines but instead of losing demerit points, you’ll face a 30 or 90 day license suspension. For a third conviction, your license will be cancelled and you’ll have to redo the Graduated Licensing System program.
If you are convicted of careless driving or dangerous driving, the penalties are vastly increased and can result in jail time, increased fines, 6 demerit points, license suspension, and even criminal charges.
Preventing Distracted Driving
Preventing distracted driving is easy. Simply don’t look at your phone or any other electronic device while you’re driving.
You can use a hands-free device, like Bluetooth, to answer calls, choose a playlist, or program GPS. Using a mounted device is another great alternative as long as it’s positioned towards the driver’s side of your windshield, and not in the middle where it obstructs your view.
Keeping your cell phone or other hand-held device out of arm’s reach is the best way to ensure you avoid using it. You can also have a passenger text, call, or program something for you. Pulling off the road (where the law allows) is the best way to use your mobile device if you absolutely have to make that call or send that text.
Have You Been Involved in a Collision Because of Distracted Driving?
At Nyland Personal Injury Law, we know how traumatic and difficult it is to be involved in a distracted driving accident. If you’ve been involved in an accident and sustained an injury because of another person’s distracted driving, we can help you speak with the insurance company, navigate the difficult legal courses, and get you the compensation you deserve.
Contact Nyland Personal Injury Law today if you’ve been the victim of an accident caused by distracted driving.