In Ontario, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000.
It is against the law to use handheld communication devices (e.g., a phone) and electronic entertainment devices (e.g., an MP3 player) while driving. In fact, simply holding a phone or other handheld device is illegal.
The exceptions to this rule are:
- Calling 9-1-1 in an emergency situation
- When the driver is lawfully parked or has safely pulled off the roadway and is not impeding traffic.
Commercial and public transit drivers, and public service workers who are currently on duty, are allowed to view display screens of mobile data terminals and logistical tracking and dispatching devices.
Other devices that are exempt from the ban:
- Display screens used for collision avoidance systems
- Display screens of instruments, gauges or systems that provide information on the conditions, use and immediate environment of the vehicle or that provide road or weather information
- Ignition interlocks
- Car audio screens that display still images
Penalties for Distracted Driving
Drivers with A to G licences
If you have an A, B, C, D, E, F and/or G licence, you’ll face bigger penalties when convicted of distracted driving:
- A fine of $400, plus a victim surcharge and court fee, for a total of $490 if settled out of court
- Fine of up to $1,000 if you receive a summons or fight your ticket
- Three demerit points applied to your driver’s record
If you hold a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence, and are convicted of distracted driving, you’ll face the same fines as drivers with A to G licences. But you won’t receive any demerit points.
Instead, you’ll face:
- a 30-day licence suspension for a first conviction
- a 90-day licence suspension for a second conviction
- cancellation of your licence and removal from the Graduated Licensing System (GLS) for a third conviction
- to get your licence back you’d have to redo the GLS program