The Ottawa Police Service would like to advise drivers of new penalties for distracted driving coming into effect on January 1, 2019.

Distracted driving is a factor in 40 percent of collisions in Ottawa and is one of the leading causes of injuries and fatalities on Ontario roads.

As of January 1, drivers caught using hand held devices will face fines between $500- $1000, three demerit points and have their licence suspended for three days upon conviction.

A second offence will cost you between $500-$2000, six demerit points and a seven day suspension. Offenders caught a third time will pay a fine between $500-$3000, six demerit points and a 30-day suspension.

Distracted driving is anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the road. Even at stop signs or traffic lights, it’s illegal to use your phone.

The best way to avoid the temptation to look at your phone or send a message is to turn it off and put it away, either in the backseat or trunk of your vehicle. If you must use your phone, safely pull over to the shoulder of the road and park before you do.

No text or phone call is as important as your safety and that of other road users. Leave the phone alone.

Source: Nation Valley News