Ontario’s new distracted driving rules to take effect January 1

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The new laws for distracted driving in Ontario are set to take effect on January 1, 2019, according to reports this week.

And many in the province are applauding the tough approach which should result in safer roads.

The fines for distracted driving would increase from a maximum of $1,000 to up to $2,000 on a second conviction and up to $3,000 for third or subsequent incidents, as well as six demerit points for multiple offences.

Offenders would also see their licence suspended for three days on a first offence, seven days after two convictions, and 30 days for third and further convictions.

However, officers won’t be able to seize a driver’s licence at roadside. A judge would have to order it suspended only after the driver is found guilty.

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“It will not be a roadside suspension by a police officer, it will be conviction at court for an offence of distracted driving. Once you’re convicted, whether it is through a guilty plea or a trial, you will lose your licence for three, seven, or 30 days,” Toronto police Const. Clint Stibbe said.

The rules received royal assent earlier this year.

In Ontario, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000. Ontario data on collisions from 2013 show one person is injured in a distracted-driving collision every half hour and a driver using a phone is four times more likely to crash than a driver focusing on the road. – CINEWS

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