Do you ever whip out your phone to send a quick text at a red light? If so, the police are watching you.
Distracted driving is a huge issue in Mississauga, and as part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, Peel Regional Police are conducting a distracted driving blitz.
Officers will be on the lookout for distracted drivers from Monday April 23-Monday April 30 this year.
“This week-long blitz will focus on behaviours that put drivers, passengers, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users at risk,” reads a recent release.
Through the blitz, police say they aim to enforce:
- Education Through enforcement.
- Zero tolerance as it pertains to distracted driving.
- Reducing the number of serious collisions due to distracted driving.
- Improving road safety, driving performance and awareness by discouraging drivers from engaging in distracted driving behaviors.
“This campaign will strictly focus on enforcement of distracted drivers in our Region and will be conducted by all frontline officers and Road Safety Services,” reads the release.
This is not the first time police have conducted a distracted driving campaign, and with Ontario’s new, more harsh distracted driving penalties in the works, this blitz is more than timely.
What counts as distracted driving in Ontario?
- Holding or touching your phone
- Using your phone to make or answer a call
- Using your phone to text
- Using your phone to check maps
- Using your phone to choose a playlist or change a song
- Eating behind the wheel
- Reading or typing a destination into a GPS
- Reading or holding a document
Ultimately, you should put away your phone and pay attention to the road to avoid getting a penalty.
According to the province, you can use:
- a hands-free device (e.g. Bluetooth) but only to turn it on and off
- a mounted device (e.g. phone, GPS) as long as it is secure – it’s not moving around while driving, and you’re not interacting with it
Your penalty for distracted driving depends on your licence and experience on the road.
Here’s how much you might be penalized:
- 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
Stay safe, Mississauga.