A giant billboard for a funeral home that can be seen from the Gardiner Expressway is actually a texting-and-driving PSA in disguise.
The grim ad seems to encourage drivers to text and drive, suggesting that it would drum up business for the Wathan Funeral Home.
But the Wathan Funeral Home doesn’t exist. It does have a website, which explains the campaign.
“You probably came to this website to tell us what horrible people we are for running an ad like that. And you’d be right. It is a horrible thing for a funeral home to do. But we’re not a funeral home,” the website reads.
“We’re just trying to get Canadians to stop texting and driving, which is projected to kill more people in Ontario this year than drinking and driving. That’s right. More.”
Click here for more on the campaign, or watch their video below.
Since 2009, Toronto police have laid over 99,000 charges for offences related to distracted driving, Const. Clint Stibbe said.
Stibbe spoke Wednesday as police launched a crackdown on distracted driving.
“We’re looking at around 7300 collisions for 2015. Alcohol collisions aren’t anywhere near those numbers,” he said.
Drivers caught using a handheld device could face a $490 fine and three demerit points upon conviction. If the motorist decides to fight the ticket, a judge has the discretion to reduce it or jack the fine up to $1,000. An officer can also hand out three demerit points.
Drivers without a full license will receive a 30-day suspension for the first conviction for distracted driving.
911 calls are an exception.
It’s also illegal for drivers to look at display screens, such as laptops, MP3 players, or DVD players, that are unrelated to driving.
According to the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), driver distraction is a factor in more than four million crashes each year in North America and was the No. 1 cause of fatal crashes on OPP-patrolled roads in 2013.
Correction: The fine for distracted driving increased in September 2015. A previous version of this article had out-of-date information.