Distracted Drivers, You’re Being Watched

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Officer radios a patrol car to stop a vehicle in violation
Officer radios a patrol car to stop a vehicle in violation

A month long blitz is underway with Sault Ste. Marie Police Service and the Sault OPP targeting distracted drivers and so far it’s paying off.

On Wednesday Sault Police stopped and ticketed 50 drivers who were either texting while driving or on their phones. Sergeant Ray Magnan tells SaultOnline.com that the Great Northern Road and Second Line intersection is a hot bed for detracted drivers – about 30 of the 50 tickets issued Wednesday were found at that intersection.

Plain clothed officers are on foot watching drivers. “They are looking for drivers who have a device in their hand or they are on the phone. Magnan says one sure sign is the car that isn’t moving when the rest of the traffic is. “Chances are they are looking down and texting when that happens”

Being a distracted driver comes with a big cost. Each driver is faced with a $280 fine though Magnan says there’s legislation to increase those fines and also add demerit points.

Magnan says he has a top ten list of excuses from drivers, such as “I was just checking the time or I had important email from work”

Just how bad is this problem? SaultOnline.com stood with one of the plain clothed officers at the corner of Second Line and within ten minutes the officer had noticed two drivers in violation.

The officer would then radio one of the patrol cars further up the street with a description of the vehicle and what the driver was doing.

Great Northern Road and Second Line - 30 tickets issued at this location in one day alone.
Great Northern Road and Second Line – 30 tickets issued at this location in one day alone.

Solid research shows that distracted drivers are more likely to cause collisions and serious injury than impaired drivers.

Motorist are reminded that the offense is committed when the driver is holding the phone – whether the driver is using it or not. Police say the phone may be used if all of the following is present. That the motor vehicle is off the roadway or lawfully parked on the roadway, That the motor vehicle is not in motion and the motor vehicle is not impeding traffic.

17 COMMENTS

  1. excerpt from the Ontario Highway Traffic Act;
    Exceptions
    (4)  Subsection (1) does not apply to,
    (a) the driver of an ambulance, fire department vehicle or police department vehicle;

    Do you think the police officers set up this Blitz on their own accord or do you think they were directed? Being the SSM police, who do you think controls their function?

    Osiris: two men smashing up someone’s car is just that, property crime. What type of call were the police preoccupied with..?

    • I never got a reason why it was busy that night to be honest and I was told that probably nothing can be done about it. I didn’t pry to much because it wasn’t my place to do so. But to say to men smashing A vehicle is jus that is ignorant. You have no idea if they will prusue entry to the house or not.

      The traffic act doesn’t cover cabs or transport drivers I guess.

      I couldn’t tell you who controls what the police do but if could guess I would say it follows chain of command up to the chief an then maybe a committee decides or perhaps some sort of government officials or group perhaps that examine ongoing trends of crime or a spike in accident related fatalities.

  2. Anyways…

    To the police that actually take pride in their work and they care and are trying to make a difference I applaud you and look up to you. My son looks up to you.

    I don’t want what I’m saying on here to get twisted. I appreciate the police services but I just feel sometimes they are maybe things like a cell phone blitz aren’t as important as other things and its no secret our city is getting worse for guns, assault and things of that nature.

    hopefully the cell phone blitz works.

  3. Rick,

    You can say that about anything. How would you feel if a fam member was killed about this or killed that way. Accidents happen rick, you can get killed walking across the street from an old person because didn’t stop in time but that doesn’t mean ban every old person from driving.

    Put it this way, the number of distracted drivers will go down for a lil bit then back to norm. So really the problem is never solved

    Ive called police on a sun night before because two masked men with bats were smashing a persons car across the street from me and they came 2 hrs later.

    How would you like that to be your vehicle or worse they could of broken in an beat up the resident.

    The response I received from the officer was its really busy tnt.

    I understand its busy but 2 hrs for potential break and enters?!

    Maybe they were busy giving out cell phone tickets.

  4. I have never had a ticket for being distracted while driving but I’m one of the people that got broken into during the day while at work an when i called the police, they did nothing about it. Probably to busy catching people on their cells.

    There is a stat that says distracted drives kill more ppl than drunk drivers. If this were true then the penalties should be much harsher. If you really want to stop distracted drivers then input the same penalty as dui. Guaranteed ppl will think twice about answering their phone while driving. What about transport drivers and cab drivers, they go on their cb , most aren’t hand held. And i agree that I have seen cops texting and in their cell. Do you think if you called and made a complaint about the officer anything would happen lol, they are police and trained to stick together. Make a complaint but I wouldn’t give your name.

    Concerned citizen i think u need to calm down. You must live in a fairy tale where the biggest worry is distracted drivers.

    Its a quick way for police to get their quotas up on tickets also.

    Don’t get me wrong , I’m not saying they aren’t don’t anything about other crimes but id like to open the news app or wherever you get the news and hear more about serious crimes being solved, not about how the cell phone blitz worked.

  5. If 50 people were stopped and each ticket was 280$ that makes a total of 14 thousand $. I think that’s enough money to cover the costs of gas and most likely the officers wages who were involved. So no tax money has to be used. Such a dumb excuse to not do something. “Oh your using out tax money for this blah blah blah”

  6. Really Osriis,, how would you feel if a family member gets hurt / sad to say– killed , while someone was on their cell ,,, think before you comment ,, thanks to the City Police

  7. Really? Nothing better to do than nail people on their cell?? How much of our tax dollars is going into paying a guy on the corner and then paying another squad car ahead, that’s just the ones we were told about.

    Maybe the police should be focusing on real crimes, like people being broken into while they are hard at work all day, stabbings. It just seems like we are focusing on petty things

    • Do you really think stabbings and what not aren’t being looked into? I for one totally agree with this! It is not a waste of time at all. A lot of accidents or “fender benders” can be avoided if people just put down their cells whilst driving and pay attention. I’m also pretty sure they do have “better” things to do…but hey…if people just followed the laws this wouldn’t even be necessary! Your comment makes me think maybe you are one of those people who is on their phone while driving??! Lol it is not a petty thing. People are breaking the law and major accidents have happened because of not paying attention and lives have been lost.

  8. I’m glad this is going on and it should be an ongoing thing. I walk my dog a lot in the Pine/ MNabb area and see lots of drivers not paying any attention, especially at the crosswalk. Have had more than a few near misses by distracted drivers…

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