The East Algoma Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are set to conduct its Distracted Driving Campaign during March Break (March 11 – 17, 2019). Drivers caught using their cell phones may also get caught off guard by the tougher penalties that took effect on January 1, 2019. The OPP will be out on our roadways taking a combined approach of education and focussed enforcement during the campaign.
The new penalties include a fine increase up to $1,000, three demerit points and a three-day licence suspension. The penalties increase with subsequent offences. For novice drivers in the graduated licencing system, there is no fine or additional demerit points but longer licence suspensions now apply.
All it takes is one second of taking your eyes off the road while driving, and disaster could strike. Numerous studies have been conducted on the risks associated with distracted driving. In particular, texting or talking on a cell phone while driving. Many of these studies have confirmed that this form of distracted driving is as dangerous as driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs – which we all know is wrong.
Very importantly, distracted driving does not just include texting/talking on cell phones. The OPP continues to lay numerous charges every year against motorists whose driving ability is compromised by other distractions, such as eating, self-grooming, and tending to kids in the back seat, just to name a few. Driving involves sharing space with other drivers, their passengers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians. And, it is impossible to do so safely unless your eyes and mind are solely focused on driving. “Distracted driving related collisions are 100% preventable”, says East Algoma Detachment Commander Tyler Sturgeon. “Passengers need to speak up and tell the driver because their safety is compromised as well”.
The OPP is calling on responsible drivers and passengers to speak up and refuse to tolerate distracted driving. Take a zero tolerance approach to distracted driving. Take charge of your own safety and speak up when you are in a vehicle being driven by someone who is not paying attention to the road and is endangering your life. The goal is to make distracted driving as socially unacceptable as impaired driving. Enforcement and education are important to putting an end to distracted driving province wide.