Distracted Driving Laws Ontario: What’s Legal and Illegal?
When it comes to distracted driving in Ontario, following the rules isn’t optional. It’s the law.
Most of us are aware that it’s illegal to use handheld devices while driving, but there are tons of other myths out there about what else we can’t do. For example, is it illegal to drink coffee while driving? What about changing the radio station?
It’s important to understand what you can and can’t do behind the wheel. A clear picture in your mind can be helpful in improving the safety of your driving.
In the words of the MTO, “driving is a privilege- not a right.” And it’s your responsibility to make sure you are following the Ontario rules of the road to keep enjoying that privilege.
Here is everything you need to know about distracted driving in Ontario to ensure that we keep our roads safe for everyone.
The Consequences of Distracted Driving
Deaths and serious injuries from distracted driving are now becoming more frequent than impaired driving accidents.
Here are some scary distracted driving facts:
- Since 2009, distracted driving has caused twice as many deaths as impaired driving.
- Drivers who text behind the wheel are 23 times more likely to cause an accident.
- Distracted driving causes 8 in 10 collisions in Canada.
It only takes seconds for a distraction to become fatal. That means you only have to glance away for just a couple seconds to cause an accident. And that accident could seriously injure or kill someone.
What does that mean? In a few seconds, your life could change. Whether you’re the distracted driver or the victim, your life will never be the same.
Don’t be the cause of someone’s lifetime of suffering. Obey the law and use your common sense to make sure that you’re not contributing to danger on the roads.
Ontario Road Rules: What’s Actually Legal and Illegal?
Eating, drinking coffee, smoking, and changing the radio station are all driving distractions that are dangerous, but they aren’t illegal.
The Ontario Highway Traffic Act section on distracted driving only refers to handheld devices. You will be charged for distracted driving if you are even touching a cell phone, GPS, or any other electronic entertainment devices, such as an iPad or mp3 player.
Even if you just tap your phone to check the screen, that’s enough to be charged. And these rules still apply even if you’re just sitting at a stop sign or a red light.
You may use handheld devices only if you have bluetooth, hands-free technology, or voice control enabled. Even then, sometimes it’s best just to turn your phone off until you reach your destination.
Use common sense when you’re driving. Just because it isn’t illegal to eat while driving doesn’t mean that you should do it. These actions can put others in danger and possibly risk their lives.
Distracted Driving Laws in Ontario 2020
If you get caught distracted driving, and you hold a class A to G license, you are looking at a fine of anywhere from $400 to $1000, and 3 demerit points.
For novice drivers with a G1 or G2, you could face the same fines, but instead of demerit points you’ll receive a license suspension. If it’s not your first time, your license could be suspended. You’ll also be sent back to the beginning of the licensing system.
That’s just if you get caught holding or using your device. If you hit or injure someone, you could be criminally charged for careless driving or dangerous driving.
Careless driving convictions can lead to one or more of these consequences:
- 6 demerit points
- A fine of up to $2000
- Six months in jail
- A license suspension for up to 2 years
Dangerous driving penalties are worse. If you injure someone, you could face up to 10 years in jail, and if you kill someone, you’re looking at 14 years.
Getting Compensation for Distracted Driving Accidents
If you’re the victim of a distracted driver’s selfish mistake, you are entitled to seek compensation. This would include compensation for loss of income from work, pain and suffering, medical costs, and caregiver expenses.
Under Canadian tort law, everyone must uphold a duty of care to others. That means avoiding putting others in dangerous or life-threatening situations.
When someone is neglectful, whether it’s intentional or not, they are liable.
In Ontario, the statute of limitations is 2 years for the majority of personal injury cases. That’s 2 years from the date of the accident to file your claim. Once that time frame has passed, your options are slim to none.
To get the best personal injury settlement, make sure you are prepared by following the right procedure and collecting enough evidence. Know that this process isn’t going to be easy or quick, and you’re going to need a good personal injury lawyer by your side.
Make sure you collect everything you can, from police reports to photographs of the scene. The police reports will indicate that a distracted driver hit you. This will strengthen your claim in court.
Seek immediate medical attention, and don’t let the other driver know if you’re okay. Sometimes our injuries don’t manifest right away. If you state that you’re okay at the scene of the crime, it’s hard to prove the accident caused your injuries.
If You’ve Been Injured by a Distracted Driver, Conte & Associates Can Help
At Conte & Associates, our team of experienced and aggressive personal injury lawyers are ready to right for you.
We are sympathetic to your case and we believe that all victims of distracted driving should get fair compensation. No one deserves their life taken away from them because someone else couldn’t resist checking their phone.
Our personal injury lawyers work with the top medical experts in Ontario, as well as trained professionals in various fields. This helps your case to be as strong as it can be for higher chances at more compensation.