The Timmins Police Service is “cautiously optimistic” that newly imposed penalties for distracted driving offences that are set to be implemented on Jan. 1st will have the desired effect on motorists.

“Distracted driving leads to preventable collisions resulting in property damage, personal injury, and in some cases, death,” said Timmins Police Service Traffic Const. Troy Larose.

Distracted driving is “significantly over represented in traffic collisions as an identifiable cause,” according to a release issued by the Timmins Police Service Wednesday.

“The newly implemented penalties are severe but necessary to address what is becoming all too common in terms of unsafe driving behaviors,” police stated.

The fines for distracted driving have been increased under new provincial legislation so that the fines are up to a maximum of $1,000 (currently $490) with three demerit points attached for any first offence.

A second conviction carries a maximum fine of up to $2,000 with six demerit points attached.

Any third or subsequent violation of a similar nature brings penalty options that include fines of up to $3,000 as well as an additional six demerit points.

Offenders would also see their licence suspended for three days on a conviction for a first offence.

A seven-day suspension is applied after two convictions, and a 30-day driver’s licence suspension is imposed for any third or more convictions

Novice drivers (those who carry a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence) would be subjected to the same penalties in terms of fines, but stand to have harsher driver’s licence suspensions imposed.

They are as follows:

  • 30 days after a first offence;
  • 90 days after any second offence; and
  • driver’s licence cancellation if they are convicted of any third or more distracted driving offences.

Timmins Police Traffic Sgt. Tom Chypyha said, “In all cases, the Timmins Police Service would rather educate than prosecute but the burden of being a responsible driver lies directly on the shoulders of the individual driver to take his or her responsibilities seriously and to address bad driving behaviors in keeping with the expectations of the public and the dictates of the Highway Traffic Act.”

Source: Timmins Daily Press