Police descended on the Intercity area on Wednesday afternoon, blitzing the area around the Memorial Avenue and Harbour Expressway intersection, surprising unsuspecting drivers and ordering them off the road.
Those caught texting and driving can expend to fork out $490, fees included, as of Sept. 1,. It will also cost three demerit points on one’s driver’s licence. Anyone protesting the fine can face an increased penalty up to $1,000 upon conviction.
Those driving with windows that are too dark will pay $110.
Traffic Sgt. Glenn Porter said stopping both infractions is a matter of public safety.
“On Sept. 1 the fines went up for distracted driving and we promised we’d be out there focusing on that, and we’re out here, we’re doing it,” Porter said.
“We’ve got the officers out here in this very busy intersection and we’re looking for offences.”
While Ontario has had distracted driving legislations on the books for several years, people just aren’t paying attention, Porter said.
It’s not that they’re not getting the message.
“I think everybody does understand it, and that’s the real frustrating part. I think almost everybody understands the danger, but it’s something they want everybody else to be doing. They don’t want to stop themselves.”
Porter said unfortunately many vehicle owners are tinting their windows too dark in order to get around distracted driving laws.
While Ontario has no specific tint level set, the Highway Traffic Acts says not only do drivers have to be able to properly see outside their vehicles, police have to be able to see in.
“Basically we’re (ticketing people) where we can’t tell if it’s a male or a female driver, or the colour of their hair – the real basic stuff. We want to be able to see in there, see the hands, is there a weapon in there.”
Porter said there have been too many incidents south of the border involving police and drivers not to be concerned in Canada.
It’s too early in the day to say how many tickets have been issued.
“But I can tell you we’ve been really busy. We’ve got a half a dozen officers and a couple of cadets working on this project. It’s something we’re going to be doing as we have the manpower available. Distracted driving is a huge problem and we’re going to do our best to stop it.”
According to an OPP release issued on Wednesday, 41 people have died on Ontario roads as a result of distracted driving in 2015, a 20 per cent increase over the same period a year ago.