Heavy Penalties for Distracted Drivers

Distracted Drivers Facts

Drivers who use cell phones are four times more likely to be in a collision than drivers who focus on the road. When drivers take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds, their crash risk doubles (Ministry of Transportation)

Ontario Provincial Police are warning drivers that distracted driving is still the number one factor in fatal collisions on provincial highways. In Ontario, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000.


Ontario data on collisions from 2013 show that 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.


What is Distracted Driving:


Distracted driving is a form of impaired driving which carries a significant penalty in the province of Ontario. Under Ontario’s distracted driving law, drivers are prohibited to operate hand-held communication and electronic entertainment devises while driving. Such devises include cell phones, iPods/MP3 players, and DVD players.


While you are driving, including when you are stopped in traffic or at a red light, it is illegal to:

  • use a phone or other hand-held wireless communication device to text or dial – you can only touch a device to call 911 in an emergency

  • use a hand-held electronic entertainment device, such as a tablet or portable gaming console

  • view display screens unrelated to driving, such as watching a video

  • program a GPS device, except by voice commands


Fines and Penalties


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


First conviction:

  • a fine of $615, 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

  • 3-day suspension

Second conviction

  • a fine of $615, if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)

  • a fine of up to $2,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose

  • six demerit points

  • 7-day suspension

Third and any further conviction(s)

  • a fine of $615, if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)

  • a fine of up to $3,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose

  • six demerit points

  • 30-day suspension


To avoid distraction:

  • turn off your phone or switch it to silent mode before you get in the car - put it in the glove compartment (lock it, if you have to) or in a bag on the back seat

  • before you leave the house, record an outgoing message that tells callers you’re driving and you’ll get back to them when you’re off the road - some apps can block incoming calls and texts, or send automatic replies to people trying to call or text you

  • ask a passenger to take a call or respond to a text for you - if you must respond, or have to make a call or send a text, carefully pull over to a safe area

  • silence notifications that tempt you to check your phone

Learn more about distracted driving here.

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