New distracted driving rules in Ontario as of January 1
On January 1, 2019, the existing fines and penalties for distracted drivers in Ontario are increasing. First time offenders will see a fine increase up to $1,000, three demerit points and a three day license suspension. It gets worse for those who are repeat offenders with fines up to $3,000, six demerit points and a 30-day licence suspension for third time convictions.
For novice drivers who are still in the graduated licencing system and don’t yet hold their full G or M licence, there is not a fine or demerit points lost but the time for a suspended licence is much longer. First time offenders automatically receive a 30-day licence suspension, second time offenders will have a 90-day suspension and a third conviction will result in the driver’s licence being cancelled altogether.
These changes are a result of the province trying to keep roads safe and get the attention of drivers, encouraging them to focus on just that, driving. Don’t take the risk of being convicted of distracted driving. Plan your route ahead of time, don’t eat or drink while driving and avoid using any hand-held devices while behind the wheel.
To learn more about the changes to Ontario’s distracted driving penalties, visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s website.