Distracted Drivers Beware! OPP is watching!

FOCUS ON THE ROAD. The Ontario Provincial Police has begun a week long education and enforcement blitz concerning distracted driving. Click Highway Traffic Act (HTA), entitled “Hand-held devices prohibited”:

Wireless communication devices 78.1(1)No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device or other prescribed device that is capable of receiving or transmitting telephone communications, electronic data, mail or text messages. 2009, c.4, s.2. Entertainment devices (2)No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held electronic entertainment device or other prescribed device the primary use of which is unrelated to the safe operation of the motor vehicle. 2009, c.4, s.2.

Speaking on your cell phone or using your cell phone, smart phone or Blackberry in any way, including texting and e-mailing while driving results in a fine of $155 under section 78.1 (1) of the HTA. Watching an entertainment device while driving results in a fine of $110 under section 78.1 (2) of the HTA. Other forms of distracted driving can lead to charges of careless driving. Those types of fines range from $400- $2,000, possible licence suspension of up to 2 years and a maximum jail term of 6 months. The reality is, commuters are failing to hear and understand the message that distracted driving is dangerous, fatal and unnecessary. What is the urgency is responding to that text or blackberry message right away? Is it worth the cost of a life, a serious injury? Can your makeup wait to be put on until you arrive? Besides, car mirrors don’t have the greatest lighting… Yes, drive through food is fast and convenient, but don’t you hate getting crumbs in your car? Hold off until you reach your destination or eat it while parked. OPP’s Sgt. Dave Woodford has had enough.

“We shouldn’t see anybody on their phone while they’re driving…we’re still seeing far too many of them, and that’s why- you know, enough is enough. [It] is what we sort of focus on and we’re going to start making sure people obey the law.”

The OPP safety blitz comes just in time for the Victoria Day Long Weekend.

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