Drivers convicted of distracted driving under the new penalties will be punished with a licence suspension, a sizable fine and demerit points. The severity of the punishment increases with the number of subsequent offences committed - so you'd better learn the first time.
- First offence: 3 days suspension and $1,000 fine
- Second offence: 7 days suspension and $2,000 fine
- Three or more offences: 30 days suspension, $3,000 fine and six demerit points
"It will not be a roadside suspension by a police officer, it will be conviction at court for an offence of distracted driving. Once you're convicted, whether it is through a guilty plea or trial, you will lose your licence for three, seven or 30 days," Toronto police Const. Clint Stibbe said. GoWrench offers you a friendly reminder that driving with a suspended license carries similar fines and demerit points - you just can't afford to make these choices.
There have also been cases where people have been convicted of distracted driving for seemingly harmless acts such as wearing earphones or looking at a smart watch while driving. This could open up a few grey areas with regards to the new laws. Your best bet is a bluetooth device either hooked up to the radio or only covering one ear.
According to the government, distracted driving is anything that causes a driver to be less focused on the road; some drivers could argue that such definition is subjective, however, police are equipped with a second law - careless driving - that casts a much wider net.
The OPP have stated once and for all that they will no longer let people go with a written warning if they are caught distracted driving. This means guilty offenders will automatically be given straight fines. "The time for warnings is certainly gone," said OPP Sgt. David Rektor. "Warnings served a purpose at the initial stages when people were transitioning to this law, but this law has been in effect for a number of years now. There's no reason why somebody needs to be distracted."