Loading articles...

Peel kicks off distracted driving blitz, as Toronto targets speeders

Last Updated Apr 12, 2019 at 12:55 pm EDT

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

Police in Peel Region kicked off a week-long blitz Friday aimed at making roads safe from distracted drivers.

Police said the blitz will focus on “behaviours that put drivers, passengers, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users at risk.

One of those behaviours will be drivers who use their cellphones while driving. Police are reminding drivers it is illegal for them to use their phone while behind the wheel — regardless of whether they are stopped in traffic or at a red light.

“If they are on their cellphone, if they are trying to program their GPS, if they’re checking their Facebook … something where they have their devices in their hands [that] they’re not paying attention,” Const. Heather Cannon told 680 NEWS.

Distracted driving also includes texting, checking maps, eating, reading and even typing a destination into the GPS.

Tougher distracted driving laws went into effect across the province on Jan. 1.

The fines increased from a maximum of $1,000 for a first offence 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.

This blitz comes on the heels of Monday’s safety blitz in Toronto that targeted speeding drivers. The “Slow Down Toronto Traffic Campaign” ends on Sunday.

Toronto police Sgt. Brett Moore with Traffic Services said officers have issued more than 900 speeding tickets since the blitz launched earlier this week.

“Enforcement has always been the key metric of our campaigns. That said the fastest way to safer roads is to nudge people towards changing how they seem themselves as users of our roads,” Moore said in an email to CityNews.

“Behaviour changes is what we are asking for. Behaviours like speeding, driving distracted, impaired and aggressively are hurting vulnerable road users.”

Moore said last year 80 per cent of the fatalities on city streets were pedestrians — seniors and children — cyclists, and motorcyclists.