Police chiefs issue warning about cellphone use while driving

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The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP), is warning motorists to put their phones down and focus on driving as part of the province-wide 2016 Drive Safe traffic safety campaign.

Distracted driving continues to be one of the most common offences that officers see out on our roads and it continues to be a significant factor in collisions. Driving requires your full attention and the law requires that you put down your phone or if you must make a call, then use a hands free device.

If you are charged for operating a motor vehicle while holding or using a handheld communication device, the penalties would include a three demerit point accumulation upon conviction and a minimum fine of $490. Depending on the circumstances, distracted drivers could also face a charge of Careless Driving, which includes six demerit points, a fine of up to $2,000 and/or a jail term of six months and up to a two-year licence suspension upon conviction.

A reminder to motorists that distracted driving is not limited to just mobile phones, it refers to all forms of distracted or inattentive driving, such as adjusting a vehicle’s  entertainment  or  GPS  unit  or  stereo,  eating  and  drinking,  using  a  hand-held device, self-grooming or tending to children in the backseat.  Drivers must understand that the true danger to public safety while driving is the distraction, not the device.

The OACP’s 2016 Drive Safe! R.I.D.E. traffic safety campaign features a booklet with information on Ontario’s distracted driving and move-over laws. Also included is helpful information from all Drive Safe! Partners to help Ontarians make the right choices when it comes to driving. Besides distracted driving, the booklet also has information on the dangers of drinking and driving, while under the influence of drugs and stunt driving. – CINEWS

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