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Distracted driving-new laws coming.

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Distracted driving-new laws coming.

Distracted Driving

New laws are coming Jan 1 , 2019 in the hopes of reducing distracted driving .
Distracted Driving in Ontario

These days, it seems very foreign to see someone talking on a cell phone while driving.  Since 2009, Ontario drivers have been banned from using hand-held devices that create distracted driving behind the wheel. 

Since then, the use of cell phones and other personal electronics has risen and driver distraction has increased with the introduction of smart watches, GPS systems and on-board information screens.    

Sadly, in Ontario, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000 with distracted driving being the number one cause of road deaths in Ontario.   

Currently, if a driver is caught using a hand-held device, they can expect a $490 fine and three demerit points. 

On January 1, 2019, new  laws will take effect in Ontario with escalating sanctions, increased fines and license suspension.  At the same time, the list of activities that count as distracted driving has also expanded.   

Effective January 1, a distracted driver will receive a summons with a court date where fines for a first offence can be high as $1,000. 

  • First offence: 3 days suspension and $1,000 fine 
  • Second offence: 7 days suspension and $2,000 fine 
  • Three or more offences: 30 days suspension, $3,000 fine and six demerit points 

New Distracted Driving laws

Under the new law,anything that causes a driver to be less focused on the road constitutes distracted driving, this includes: 

  • Simply holding an electronic device in your hands (hand-held communication during driving is against the law) 
  • Using a cellular phone to talk, text, check maps or switch playlists 
  • Eating (there may not be a licence suspension, but the RCMP warn you could be fined or given six demerits depending on the food) 
  • Reading books or documents 
  • Typing a destination into the GPS 


As we head into the new year, we can all resolve to end distracted driving and to keep our roadways safe for all.  Turn off your phone or switch it to silent mode before you get in the car.  If you need to, put the phone in the glove compartment or in a bag on the back seat. Consider using an app that blocks incoming calls and text while you are driving.  If you must respond, or have to make a call or send a text, carefully pull over to a safe area.   

If you, or a loved one, has been involved in an accident or injured due to distracted driving call us today.  We understand, we care and we are here to help.

About the Author

David Hollingsworth has been a personal injury lawyer in Ottawa since 1999. David dedicates himself to helping people who have been injured in an accident, including car accidents, slip and fall accidents, motorcycle accidents, LTD claims, Accident Benefits claims and more. David and his team work closely with their clients and their families and help rebuild lives, following a traumatic accident. To learn more about David Hollingsworth, view his full profile.