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The Ontario Provincial Police says more than 9,115 collisions on Ontario roadways were caused by an inattentive driver.

Police laid 13,529 distracted driving charges last year against drivers on provincially-patrolled roads.

OPP are launching a distracted driving campaign during March Break and say drivers may be caught off guard by the new strict penalties.

On Jan. 1, 2019, the fine for distracted driving increased up to $1,000, three demerit points and a three-day licence suspension. The penalties increase with subsequent offences.

“Among the most dangerous drivers are those who continue to ignore the facts and convince themselves that using a cell phone while driving is not dangerous and forms part of today’s driving culture,” said Interim Commissioner Gary Couture, Ontario Provincial Police. “Never let a driver use this, or any other justification for using a hand-held device while driving. It is as dangerous a driving behaviour today as it was when Ontario’s Distracted Driving laws came into force ten years ago.”

In 2018, police say 55 people died in a collision caused by distracted driving.

Source: CHCH