Distracted Driving Penalties Increase

Distracted driving now causes more deaths in Canada than impaired driving – especially texting and driving – which is why there are laws across Canada against driving while operating a cell phone.Texting and driving fines range from $2,500 to $3,000, and some provinces scale them up for repeat offences. Demerit points will also be recorded against your driving record.

Canada is cracking down on its distracted driving with increasingly stricter laws that impose harsher penalties and heftier fines on guilty offenders. While some people may perceive it as a drastic response, the fact is distracted driving has claimed more lives than impaired driving in provinces like Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Manitoba.

Harsher penalties took effect as of June 8, 2020, and there are significant consequences to those convicted of distracted driving.

Drivers with a full G or M license pulled over for distracted driving can expect:

  1. A $1,500 fine if everything is settled out of court.
  2. A $2,000 fine if you received a court summons and are convicted.
  3. 3 demerit points added to your driving record.
  4. A 3-day license suspension for the first conviction.

The second distracted driving conviction will receive:

  1. A $4,000 fine.
  2. A 7-day license suspension.
  3. An additional 6 demerit points added to your driving record.

Drivers caught driving distracted three or more times can expect:

  1. $7,000 in fines.
  2. A license suspension for 30 days.
  3. 6 more demerit points.

Novice drivers holding a G1, G2, M1, or M2 license can still be convicted of distracted driving, but won’t receive demerit points. Instead, they will receive:

  1. A 30-day license suspension for the first conviction.
  2. A 90-day license suspension for the second conviction.
  3. A complete license cancellation and removal.

You can still use technology in the car, but the new driving laws in Canada tighten the restrictions on how this works. You can still use:

  1. Hands-free devices like a Bluetooth headset. Turning it on and off is fine.
  2. Firmly mounted devices that won’t move around in the vehicle.

With that said, it’s still important to note that dialing a number or entering a password on your phone or tablet still counts as distracted driving, so it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to adjust the hands-free settings on your devices ahead of time.

Here are some sobering texting and driving statistics to put it into perspective:

  1. Checking your phone increases the chance of an accident by eight times.
  2. Over 25% of reported car accident involve a phone, including hands-free phones, but they’re still under-reported. 
  3. Drivers using phones fail to process 50% of their road environments.
  4. Distracted driving causes 4,000,000 car accidents per year in North America.
  5. Distraction accounts for 60% of moderate and sever teen crashes.

Texting and driving in Canada is serious, and it’s more widespread than most of us think.

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