Police say that distracted driving continues to be the top cause of motor vehicle collisions and has surpassed the number of fatalities caused by impaired driving in Ontario.
In the commitment to ensuring safety on Niagara roadways, members of the Niagara Regional Police Service would like to remind motorists about the dangers of distracted driving which refers to any activity which takes your attention away from the road. The dangers of distracted driving are compounded in the winter months with snow and slippery road conditions.
As a result, police have started a traffic initiative focused on distracted driving, with particular emphasis on the use of communication devices. Motorists are reminded that using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle on a highway is an offence. This includes using a phone while waiting at a traffic light or holding the device in your hand while operating a motor vehicle. Officers will be using different techniques to ensure compliance and conduct enforcement.
Recent changes to the Highway Traffic Act provide for the following penalties if convicted of using a communication device while driving:
1) First conviction $615 fine if settled out of court. Fine of up to $1,000 if convicted in court. Three demerit points and 3 day suspension.
2) Second conviction $615 fine if settled out of court. Fine of up to $2,000 if convicted in court. Six demerit points and a 7 day suspension.
Novice drivers (G1, G2) will face the same financial penalties but no demerit points. Instead, novice drivers will receive a 30 day suspension for a first conviction and a 90 day suspension for a second conviction. The initiative is expected to run for twelve weeks.
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