STEP Program for August: Distracted Driving – HomeTown TV12

STEP Program for August: Distracted Driving

STEP Program for August: Distracted Driving

Hand Held Devices and the Law

Smiths Fallls – Cellular telephones have quickly become a leading cause of car crashes.

Distracted driving caused more deaths than impaired driving in 2013. Driver distraction is a factor in about 4 million motor vehicle crashes in North America each year.

Studies have proven that drivers on a cell phone are four times as likely to be in a car crash.

Section 78.1(1) of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act states:

No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device or other prescribed device that is capable of receiving or transmitting telephone communications, electronic data, mail or text messages.

Exceptions for using a wireless communication or entertainment devises

  • In hands-free mode. Don’t hold it.
  • Using any device while pulled over or parked – as long as you are not disrupting traffic
  • A commercial GPS must be built in and hands free or mounted on the dashboard and hands free
  • Emergency Services Please be aware that this also applies to laptops, MP3s, hand held gaming devices and iPods, unless you have an integration kit and can adjust the tunes through your car radio.

Drivers with A to G licences

If you have an A, B, C, D, E, F and/or G licence, you’ll face bigger penalties when convicted of distracted driving:

  • a fine of $490, if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)
  • a fine of up to $1,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose
  • three demerit points

Novice drivers

If you hold a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence, and are convicted of distracted driving, you’ll face the same fines as drivers with A to G licences. But you won’t receive any demerit points.
Instead of demerit points you’ll face:

  •  a 30-day licence suspension for a first conviction  a 90-day licence suspension for a second conviction  cancellation of your licence and removal from the Graduated Licensing System (GLS) for a third conviction o to get your licence back you’d have to redo the GLS program

This law came into effect in October 2009 and people are still breaking the law.

The Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) for the month of August is Distracted Driving violations. Smiths Falls Police Officers will be looking for and enforcing these and all Highway Traffic Act violations while keeping roadways safe. You can find this plus other information on the Smiths Falls Police Service website at


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