“A driver using a cell phone is four times more likely to be in a crash than a driver focused on the road,” according to the Centre Line flyer issued by Service Ontario and the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO). “When drivers take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds, their crash risk doubles.”

In a CBC News Report in August 2013 entitled “Cell phones Blamed as Fatal Collisions by Distracted Drivers Up”, Amber Hildebrandt reports: “For years now, distracted driving has surpassed drinking and driving as one of the top causes of collisions in Ontario, where it is consistently blamed for 30 percent of highway accidents. (Speeding is the No. 1 killer in Ontario.)

In Ontario, it is illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, and dial or email using hand-held phones, entertainment or communication devices.  Distracted drivers are now subject to hefty fines.  Just look at these alarming statistics quoted on the RCMP website, in an article called Just the Facts: “Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for at least five seconds. If the vehicle is travelling at (89 kilometres per hour), this equals driving the length of a football field without looking at the road.  While driving, a person is 23 times more likely to crash if they are texting, 2.8 times more at risk of crashing if they are dialing a phone, 1.3 times more at risk of crashing if they are talking or listening to someone, and 1.4 times more at risk of crashing just by reaching for a phone….each year in North America, driver distraction is a factor in about four million motor vehicle collisions.”

Fines and penalties for distracted driving increased as of September 1, 2015.  If convicted of distracted driving, a fully licenced driver (Class A to G) or a hybrid driver who holds a full-class licence and a novice license such as G Class or MI Class will receive a fine of $400 plus a victim surcharge and court fee, for a total of $490 if the case is settled out of court.  The offender can face a fine of up to $1,000 if they receive a summons or fight the ticket and could have three demerit points applied to the driving record.  If convicted of distracted driving, the offender can face a 30-day licence suspension for a first offence, 90-day licence suspension for a second occurrence and third-time offenders face losing their licence for good.

The penalties escalate if the driver endangers the lives of others due to being distracted, relating to both hand-held and hands-free devices, and may also face a charge of careless driving.  If convicted, the distracted driver in this circumstance will automatically receive six demerit points, fines of up to $2,000 and/or six months in jail and up to a two-year license suspension.  The distracted driver may also be charged with the criminal offence of dangerous driving and face a possible jail term of up to five years. (Source: www.mto.gov.ca/distracteddriving).

According to the Canadian Automobile Association website, “Economic losses caused by traffic collision-related health care costs and lost productivity are at least $10 billion annually. That’s about 1% of Canada’s GDP! (Government of Canada)” Source: CAA website/Distracted Drivers.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident as a result of a distracted driver it is important that you seek legal advice from a law practice that specializes in distracted driving cases. At Horowitz Injury Law we have the expertise in advancing distracted driving claims, backed by almost 35 years of experience. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss the merits of your claim. Horowitz Injury Law: 416-925-4100.