It's a new year and that means new laws, specifically new and harsher distracted driving laws in Ontario. The laws broaden what officially counts as distracted driving now, including texting, eating, and using a GPS. On top of these stricter rules in the new law, there are also harsher penalties that accompany them. Even for first-time offenders, there is no grace period when it comes to the new distracted driving laws.
For drivers with their full G license, the first time they get pulled over for distracted driving they automatically get a three day license suspension, three demerit points, and a fine anywhere from $615 to $1000.
For new and novice drivers, the penalties are even harsher. Anyone with a G1 or G2 license will face the same increased fines for distracted driving charges but instead of only a three-day suspension, they will immediately lose their license for a full 30 days. The only plus is that novice drivers won't get any demerit points.
Despite all these increased fines and harsher rules only being days old, there is absolutely no grace period when it comes to police enforcing them. Drivers have already been charged with the new system and police aren't wasting any time cracking down on them.
One officer in the Halton Region shared on Twitter that he was only eight minutes into his very first shift as a traffic officer on January 1st, the first official day of the new laws when he nabbed a driver for distracted driving.
In his tweet, he revealed that the driver got an increased fine, three-day suspension, and demerit points, the full penalty under the new laws. All that less than 10 minutes into the officer's very first traffic shift. This proves that police are wasting no time on the crackdown.
Anyone who has already been charged under the new distracted driving laws will be off the roads until at least January 4th, since the new penalties now include a three-day suspension. After that though, repeat offences carry even worse penalties.
For a second offence, the fine is up to $2000, with 6 demerit points, and a seven-day suspension. For a third offence, it is up to $3000 in fines, another 6 demerit points, and a 30-day suspension.
Now that it's very clear that police are wasting no time cracking down on distracted driving, with these new harsh penalties, it's not even worth having your phone in your hand or eating anything behind the wheel. Not only would you be risking thousands of dollars, but also potentially someone's life.