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Distracted Driving in Ontario: The Ultimate Guide

(But we can explain much clearer by getting in touch with us directly by clicking below)

Understanding Ontario’s Distracted Driving Penalties: A Guide

In Ontario, the law is clear: using hand-held devices like phones and electronic entertainment gadgets while driving is illegal. Even holding one is not allowed. The smart move? Keep your hands on the wheel, not on your devices. Opt for a hands-free device or securely mounted GPS for safer navigation.

Distracted Driving / Cell Phone Ticket Suspension - G Class

Avoiding Distracted Driving Penalties in Ontario: A Straightforward Guide

To steer clear of penalties, simply don’t use hand-held gadgets while driving. Ontario law prohibits the use of such devices, including phones and electronic entertainment. Holding them is also a no-go. Stay safe by using:

  • Hands-free devices, like Bluetooth, for activation and deactivation only.
  • Securely mounted electronics, like phones or GPS devices, that don’t move while you drive.

What are the penalties for Distracted Driving in Ontario?

  • 1st Offence: $615-$1,000 fine, 3 demerit points, 3-day driving suspension.
  • 2nd Offence: Up to $2,000 fine, 6 demerit points, 7-day driving suspension.
  • 3rd Offence: Up to $3,000 fine, 6 demerit points, 30-day license suspension.

This summary highlights Ontario’s escalating penalties for cell phone use while driving, emphasizing the province’s commitment to road safety.

The Ontario Highway Traffic Act Section 78(1): Distracted Driving

Under Section 78.1 of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, drivers cannot hold or use hand-held wireless and entertainment devices. However, hands-free use is permitted under certain conditions. Remember, safe driving comes first.

Can Using a Hands-Free Device Be Considered Distracted Driving?

The Ministry of Transportation permits certain hands-free options, such as earpieces, mounted GPS, and built-in vehicle screens. These must be used correctly and not manually while driving.

How Serious is a Distracted Driving charge in Ontario?

Texting while driving is Ontario’s top cause of accidents, with disturbing statistics revealing a steep rise in accidents and fatalities since 2000. Drivers are four times more likely to crash when using a phone.  A conviction also means increased insurance premiums, loss of discounts, and potentially, the need for high-risk auto insurance..

Is Distracted Driving Considered a Criminal Offence in Ontario?

In Ontario, being charged with using a Cell Phone while driving, a common form of distracted driving, does not constitute a criminal offence. This type of offence falls under section 78(1) of the Highway Traffic Act. Although it is not classified as criminal, it’s important to note:

  • Impact on Insurance Rates: Such charges can significantly increase your insurance premiums.
  • Driving Record: The charge will be recorded on your driving history.
  • Non-Criminal Nature: Despite its serious nature, a cell phone ticket does not result in a criminal record or criminal charges in Ontario.

Understanding the legal implications of distracted driving in Ontario is crucial for all drivers. While not criminal, these charges carry substantial financial and administrative consequences.

Does a Distracted Driving Conviction in Ontario Affect Immigration Status?

  • Immigration Status Impact: None. Distracted Driving convictions do not affect Permanent Residency (PR) Status, Work Visas, or Student Visas in Canada.
  • Driving Record: The conviction is recorded on your driving abstract.
  • Insurance Consequences: Expect an increase in insurance premiums.
  • Criminal Record: Absent. There are no criminal charges, ensuring no direct impact on your PR or visa status.

Are There Exceptions to Distracted Driving or Cell Phone Ticket Laws?

Exceptions to Distracted Driving exist for emergencies. You can use your phone to call 911 if you spot a dangerous driver or in other urgent situations, provided you’ve safely pulled over.  You cannot use this as an excuse if you are caught using your Cell Phone device while driving.

What are the Dangers of Driving Distracted with a Cell Phone?

The lawmakers have determined that a moment’s distraction can lead to delayed reactions, poor decisions, and potentially fatal mistakes. There are three types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive, all of which can take your focus off driving.  It is for these reasons that the Distracted Driving laws have gotten tougher over the years with both the courts and the insurance ramifications.

What is the Impact of a Distracted Driving Conviction on Insurance rates?

Receiving a cell phone ticket in Ontario is likely to lead to a substantial increase in your car insurance premiums. After such a conviction, insurance costs can soar, potentially doubling or even quintupling. This major infraction not only elevates your rates but also places you at risk of policy non-renewal. In some cases, you may have to secure coverage from insurers specializing in high-risk profiles to ensure you’re continuously insured.

Why is there a 3-day license suspension for Distracted Driving in Ontario?

In Ontario, the consequences of distracted driving, specifically using cell phones while operating a vehicle, are severe for fully licensed (G License) drivers. If you’re convicted of this offence for the first time, you’ll face a 3-day license suspension. The penalties escalate with repeated offences: a second conviction leads to a 7-day suspension. Ontario’s firm stance on preventing distracted driving is evident in these stringent measures, aimed at safeguarding road safety.

Distracted Driving & Cell Phone Ticket Penalties for G Class Drivers in Ontario

Distracted Driving Tickets: Understanding G2 License Penalties in Ontario

For novice drivers holding a G2 License in Ontario, the repercussions of using a cell phone while driving are even more stringent. A first-time offence results in a substantial 30-day license suspension. This increases dramatically to a 90-day suspension for a second offence. Moreover, a third conviction under this category leads to license cancellation and ejection from the Graduated Licensing System. This strict approach underlines the province’s commitment to combating distracted driving and ensuring the safety of all road users.

Distracted Driving & Cell Phone Ticket Penalties for G2 Class Drivers in Ontario

Ontario Distracted Driving Statistics: A Reality Check

The statistics are sobering. Distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents in Ontario, with a person injured every half hour. The risk is real and growing, with deaths and accidents on the rise.

What are the different types of Distracted Driving in Ontario?

Distractions while driving come in various forms: visual, manual, and cognitive. Whether it’s looking away from the road, fiddling with gadgets, or daydreaming, each one significantly compromises safety.

How Do I Fight a Distracted Driving Ticket in Ontario?

In Ontario, you have the right to contest a Cell Phone ticket. You must file the ticket with the court within 15 days and schedule a date to discuss your case with a prosecutor or to set a trial date. It’s not uncommon for the court to offer a preliminary meeting, which can determine the viability of taking the charges to trial. This step is crucial for those seeking to dispute the allegations of distracted driving and potentially avoid the associated penalties.

How Long Does a Distracted Driving Conviction Remain On My Ontario Record?

In Ontario, a cell phone driving conviction becomes a permanent part of your driving history. While demerit points from the offence will only impact your driving record for 2 (two) years, insurance companies have the ability to access and review these convictions on your driver’s license abstract for 3 (three) years, potentially affecting your insurance premiums and coverage options.

Is hands-free driving legal in Ontario?

Yes, using hands-free devices is legal in Ontario. This includes Bluetooth-enabled phones and mounted GPS units. However, they must be operated in a way that doesn’t distract you from driving. Holding or using hand-held devices while driving is against the law.

What are the penalties for distracted driving in Ontario?

Penalties for distracted driving in Ontario vary by license type. For A to G license holders, fines start at $615 and can go up to $3,000, with possible suspensions from 3 to 30 days. Novice drivers face similar fines but longer suspensions and no demerit points.

A Distracted Driving conviction will destroy your insurance rates for years.

You deserve better.

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