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Distracted driving remains a large concern for OPP

"Every driver has a responsibility to direct their entire attention to driving safely,” the OPP says.

NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO — Some people must still think it's okay to use their cell phone while driving. 

Distracted driving is a consistent problem on roads despite laws put in place to ban it. With multiple awareness campaigns from police services and advocacy groups across the province, drivers should know better than to be taking calls while behind the wheel. 

In Northwestern Ontario, there have already been seven distracted driving charges laid since the start of the year, according to the Ontario Provincial Police. 

"New distracted driving laws came into effect on January 1, 2019, as part of Ontario’s Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act.

"However, distracted driving laws have been in place across Canada since 2008. New laws mean tougher penalties for distracted driving, which the OPP fully supports as yet one more measure to deter distracted driving and assist in saving lives on our roadways," the OPP said.

Last year, the OPP laid 32 distracted driving charges across the region. 

The current penalties for drivers caught talking on their phones, texting, dialing, or emailing using a hand-held device, such as a cell phone or other entertainment devices, include a fine up to $1,000 with a three-day suspension of their licence and three demerit points upon conviction.

Drivers who receive a second conviction within five years face a fine of up to $2,000, a seven-day suspension of their licence, and six demerit points.

With three convictions or more within five years, drivers face a fine of up to $3,000, six demerit points, and they will lose their licence for 30 days.

There are other penalties for drivers still in the graduated licensing phases. 

Distracted driving is definitely still a big concern for the OPP.

"Drivers need to remember that the true danger to public safety lies in the distraction, not the device. Every year, the North West Region OPP investigates hundreds of motor vehicle collisions, with inattentive/distracted driving being one of the leading causal factors in serious injury and death.

"Every driver has a responsibility to direct their entire attention to driving safely.”

Katie Nicholls

About the Author: Katie Nicholls

Originally from central Ontario, Katie has moved here to further her career in the media industry.
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