Ontario Laws Aimed At Reducing Texting & Driving
I think that texting and driving fines are a public service announcement we will be hearing more of. When I was in high school, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) were very prominent in the media. They made the rounds at schools, alternating with police officers, showing videos of drunk driving car accidents and educating teenagers on the dangers of drinking and driving. And it seems their efforts have paid off, as drinking and driving rates have reportedly decreased. Regrettably, teens and adults everywhere have a new dangerous driving habit; distracted driving.
I was at the dental office last year and a tall, slender, beautiful teenage girl came in for dental work. On second glance, I noticed that her face was covered in scars. She told her story to some of us in the waiting room. She had been texting and driving, drifted on to the shoulder, lost control of the car and ended up in the ditch. Her face was scarred from hundreds of pieces of shattered windshield glass that had sunk in to her flesh. Her two front teeth were lost in the accident. She was grateful she was alone and no one else was involved, and that she was alive. But was it an “accident” or was it careless driving which could have been prevented?
It seems the Transport Minister, Glen Murray, and the police are doing their best to make us realize that distracted driving is a real danger.
On CBC radio, Toronto police traffic officer Constable Clint Stibbe discussed the new fines saying “We’ve seen fatalities that are directly attributed to the use of a cellphone…It’s an ongoing problem and it is taking lives.”
The transport minister supports legislation that would add demerit points as a penalty for distracted driving. For now, the fine for distracted driving has gone from $155 to $280, effective March 18, 2014. However, you should note that distracted drivers could be charged with dangerous driving, which would result in 6 demerit points.
Can You Get A Fine For Using Your GPS While Driving? Maybe.
Lawmakers are suggesting that it isn’t just cell phones that distract and endanger. The risk and the penalties also come with using any of the following while driving:
- MP3 Players
- Tablets & Computers
- Other handheld devices
- A GPS system in your car
As drivers, we’re expected to set our GPS before we begin driving. Setting a course while driving opens you up to lack of focus and a fine. So you can look at your GPS or listen to the instructions, but you can’t be touching the screen while driving.
Don’t Fool Yourself Into Thinking It’s OK.
CTV reported that 80% of people polled support the texting and driving ban. But you see people texting and driving everyday. We’re desensitized because nothing has happened to us personally, yet. And though in theory we agree the ban is good, too many of us continue to fool ourselves into thinking that we can safely drive and text at the same time. Just one quick text won’t hurt, right? But it’s a fool’s game that we should end.
You’re busy. We’re busy. All of us are multitasking and running to keep up, but you’re not saving time by texting and driving. You’re just losing focus. You’re the equivalent of a drunk driver who doesn’t see before it’s too late, whose defensive driving skills are seconds too slow. You know its true. We know it too. We’ve done it. But we have changed our ways. Will you put down your cellphone when driving too?
TUCU is committed to using tech safely, and our team has agreed to put the tech down while driving. We ask that you do the same.
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