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Ontario's tough distracted driving laws one step closer to taking effect

Last Updated Jan 15, 2018 at 8:34 am EST

A driver texting on their phone while in the car. 680 NEWS/Carl Hanstke

New rules that will mean automatic driver’s licence suspension for convicted distracted drivers in Ontario will soon take effect after receiving Royal Assent, 680NEWS has learned.

“The law has been passed — it’s now just a matter of time,” Toronto police Const. Clint Stibbe told 680 NEWS on Monday.

“You the driver has to decide, is answering that text message or making that phone call going to be worth it when you can’t buy your way out of this anymore. You will receive a licence suspension and you will receive a substantial fine.”

The fines for distracted driving would increase from a maximum of $1,000 to up to $2,000 on a second conviction and up to $3,000 for third or subsequent incidents, as well as six demerit points for multiple offences.

Offenders would also see their licence suspended for three days on a first offence, seven days after two convictions, and 30 days for third and further convictions.

However, officers won’t be able to seize a driver’s licence at roadside. A judge would have to order it suspended only after the driver is found guilty.

Based on preliminary data from 2016, distracted driving was to blame for 7,435 crashes in Toronto. Of those collisions, eight were fatal, 2,642 resulted in injury and 4,785 caused property damage.

With files from The Canadian Press


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