Dangers of Distracted Driving
When you are operating a motorized vehicle, your attention should remain on the road ahead of you. At Trubicars, we emphasize to our students the importance of driving safely and how the safety of your life and others’ lives is your responsibility when you are driving. Traffic collisions can happen very quickly and when you are not giving your full attention to driving, collisions can happen in the blink of an eye.
In Ontario, collision data from 2013 shows that One person is injured in a Distracted Driving collision every half hour. A driver using their phone while driving is four times more likely to be in a collision than a fully attentive driver.
When people think of distracted driving, people mostly think of electronic device usage. However, distracted driving comes in many forms. Visual, Physical, and Cognitive distractions are all forms of distracted driving.
- Visually Distracted Driving includes anything that takes your eyes off the road.
- Physical Distracted Driving includes anything that takes your hands off the steering wheel.
- Cognitive Distracted Driving includes being lost in your thoughts or engaging in deep conversations.
1. So What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted Driving involves any activity that takes your focus away from driving. You are considered to be a distracted driver if you do any of the following behind the wheel:
- Eat or Drink
- Scroll or search on your phone
- Apply Makeup
- Fiddle with radio or navigation systems
- Drive with a pet on your lap
- Reach for a fallen object
Any activity that you engage in that takes your attention away from the road is considered Distracted Driving.
Many road users think that it is okay to send texts, and emails or scroll through their phones while they are stopped in traffic or at a red light… however… This is Illegal!
Actions such as eating, drinking, grooming, reaching for objects etc, are not part of Ontario’s distracted driving law BUT you still can be charged with careless driving, dangerous driving, or distracted driving.
If you hold an A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and/or M license and are convicted of distracted driving you will face serious penalties.
- On your First Conviction you could face a fine of $615 (if settled out of court), A fine of $1000 (if settled in court), three demerit points, and a 3-day license suspension.
- On your Second Conviction you could face a fine of $615 (if settled out of court), A fine of $2000 (if settled in court), six demerit points, and a 7-day license suspension.
- On your Third or more Conviction you could face a fine of $615 (if settled out of court), A fine of $3000 (if settled in court), six demerit points, and a 30-day license suspension.
If you hold a G1 license, G2 license, M1 license, or M2 license and are convicted of distracted driving, you will face similar fines, but instead of gaining demerit points, you’ll face longer license suspensions.
- On your First Conviction, your license will be suspended for 30 days
- On your Second Conviction, your license will be suspended for 90 days
- On your Third or more Conviction, your license will be revoked, and you will be removed from the gradual licensing system (meaning if you have a G2, you will need to restart your G1 by taking the G1 test)
To Avoid Distracted Driving here are a few tips from Trubicars to consider:
- Turn off your phone or switch it to silent: This ensures that your phone will not be a potential distraction to your driving.
- Ask a passenger to take a call or respond to a message on your behalf: Be sure not to handle the electronic device in any way, as even handling an electronic device while you are driving is against the law.
- Before you leave: Let the person know that you will be driving and that you will get back to them when you are not behind the wheel. Pre-select your radio stations or queue up your favorite tunes prior to leaving your destination.
- Pull over: If something requires your immediate attention while you are driving, safely pull over to the side and deal with the issue accordingly, making sure that you will not be distracted.
It’s important to remember that driving is a privilege NOT a right. At Trubicars we emphasize to our students that driving is a big responsibility, and it is your duty as an operator of a motorized vehicle to ensure that you remain safe and responsible behind the wheel, not just for your sake, but for the sake of others. If you are looking for more information on distracted driving and how to avoid being a distracted driver, check out the Trubicars website!