In Ontario, deaths from distracted driving have doubled since 2000. The government has responded to this dangerous practice by enacting a law, effective January 1, 2019, that significantly increases the penalties for distracted driving. In the New Year, motorists convicted of distracted driving will face the following penalties:
• First conviction: up to a $1000 fine, 3 day licence suspension and 3 demerit points;
• Second conviction within 5 years: up to $2000 fine, 7 day licence suspension and 6 demerit points; and
• Third conviction within 5 years: up to $3000 fine, 30 day licence suspension and 6 demerit points.
Distracted driving is no longer limited to making phone calls and texting. It now constitutes anything that causes a driver to be less focused on the road. It will now include holding an electronic device in your hand, eating while driving, applying make- up, reading documents, turning around to get something from the back seat and typing a destination into your GPS. It’s considered an offence to complete these activities, even while stopped at a red light.
If you are driving while distracted and cause a collision that injures another person the consequences will go beyond these penalties. If your negligence causes injury to someone, that person is entitled to sue you for compensation for his or her injuries. Without adequate insurance your personal assets can be at risk in a situation like this. Talking to your insurance broker about increasing coverage is a good idea. Increased coverage will help whether you caused the collision or whether you or a family member is an innocent victim of someone else’s negligence.
Oatley Vigmond represents injured individuals in their claims against insurance companies. Oatley Vigmond can be reached at (705) 726-9021 or 1-888-662-2481