Distracted Driving Month
March is Distracted Diver Month.
Since March 1st, officers with the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service have issued 29 provincial offence notices related to Distracted Driving in Sault Ste. Marie.
In Ontario, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000.
The OPP advise that inattentive drivers were behind 83 road fatalities on OPP-patrolled roads in 2017, surpassing speed-related deaths (75), alcohol/drug-related deaths (46) and those that are linked to lack of seat belt use (49).
It is against the law to use any handheld communication device while driving.
This includes holding a phone in your hand and talking on speaker phone.
In order for a driver to lawfully use a handheld device while in a motor vehicle 3 conditions must be present.
1. The motor vehicle must be pulled off of the roadway
2. The vehicle must not be impeding traffic
3. The vehicle must be lawfully parked
If a driver chooses to use a Bluetooth connected device, they are reminded that they can only touch the screen momentarily to activate or deactivate the hands free function, and only if the device is mounted or secured.
Having a device on your lap is NOT considered to be a mounted or secure place.
Drivers are also reminded that you can not manipulate the screen on a device to scroll through music, emails, texts or any other information that may be accessible on the device.
DID YOU KNOW?
If convicted of distracted driving, a fully licenced driver will receive:
A fine of $400, plus a victim surcharge and court fee, for a total of $490 if settled out of court.
A fine of up to $1,000 if you receive a summons or fight your ticket
Three demerit points applied to your driver’s record
A novice driver, (G1 or G2) will face the same fine however, upon conviction they will face a 30 day licence suspension for a first conviction, a 90 day suspension for a second conviction and the cancellation of your licence and removal from the Graduated Licensing System for a third conviction.
Drivers who endanger others because of any distraction, including hand-held and hands-free devices, may still be charged with Careless Driving under the Highway Traffic Act or even Dangerous Driving under the Criminal Code of Canada.
Both charges carry heavy fines and penalties.
Officers with the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service and OPP that patrol our highways are committed to working with members of the public and our partner agencies to keep our roads safe.