Today, the Federal Government called for tougher penalties, along with increased national uniformity when it comes to distracted driving. This call to arms was long overdue. Our personal injury lawyers can tell you that distracted driving has been a problem since at least 2004, if not earlier. Think of all of the car accidents that have happened since 2004 across Canada….Disturbing if you look at the stats. I suspect that a lot of those accidents were non-reported distracted driving accidents. Law enforcement just takes time to catch on to the trends. Distracted driving in many ways, is also more difficult to prove than drunk driving. More on that later.
Distracted driving is NOT drunk driving. Drunk driving is covered under the Criminal Code of Canada. It’s a uniform definition across the country.
Distracted driving on the other hand is defined and covered under provincial legislation. That means what’s described as distracted driving in one province, can be different in another province.
In Ontario, holding your mobile device, even if you’re not looking at it, while operating your vehicle can be interpreted as distracted driving:
In Ontario, it’s against the law to:
- operate hand-held communication and electronic entertainment devices while you’re driving
- view display screens unrelated to your driving
Examples of hand-held devices include:
- iPods and MP3 players
- cell phones
- smart phones
- DVD players