At the tender age of 16, when we are fresh drivers, we tend to be good citizens and follow the rules of the road.
After all, we all know the penalties for new drivers are much stricter. And let's be honest, when you're brand new to the road, the act of driving alone is a cognitive overload, add texting or eating into the mix, and you're doomed.
TL;DR In light of some new statistics regarding the link between distracted driving and fatal road accidents, the RCMP and police in each Canadian province are enforcing stricter "distracted driving" laws and their subsequent penalties.
As we become more experienced and seasoned drivers, navigating the obstacles of everyday driving becomes automated. We can effortlessly switch lanes, dodge an obstacle, or know exactly if we can make a yellow light or not.
As older drivers, we tend to push our luck and test our skills by engaging in behind-the-wheel multi-tasking such as texting, changing songs, eating, or even grooming yourself.
But to the Canadian federal police (RCMP), all of these actions are considered "distracted driving" and are 100% illegal in Canada. Each province has their own classifications for "distracted driving" and applies varying fines and penalties for their violation.
But the bottom line: distracted driving is illegal in Canada.
What does it constitute exactly? RCMP classifies this as anything that can lead to a driver’s impaired judgment while on the road, including:
- Talking on a cellphone
- Reading (books, maps, newspapers)
- Personal grooming
- Adjusting the radio/CD
- Talking to passengers while fatigued
- Even eating and driving
In terms of consequences, according to the RCMP's website, the legal impacts of distracted driving can vary depending on the circumstances. In some provinces, a person can be fined up to over $500, lose up to 4 demerit points, and also risk having their license suspended!
For example, Ontario's laws surrounding distracted driving just got very strict. According to the updated regulations, a distracted driving violation warrants the automatic suspension of driver’s licenses, as well as the charging fines of $1,000 or over. And that's just for the first offense.
The provincial police are taking these violations seriously in light of some scary new statistics. Did you know that, according to the government of Ontario, one person is injured in a distracted driving collision every half hour!
In Quebec, the SAAQ has its own parameters for what constitutes as "distracted driving" and it's just as strict as in Ontario.
Again, the police assigned to road duty are very serious about enforcing these rules, because breaking them comes at a high cost. People lose their lives.
So before you whip out your phone to send that quick text or check your Instagram for the 30th time. Ask yourself if it's really worth the ticket, and more importantly, putting other people's lives in danger.