Section 78.1 of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act deals with the use of hand-held devices and wireless communication devices. Part 1 states that it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle while holding or using a hand-held communication device that is capable of telephone communication or sending or receiving electronic data, text messages or email.
Part 2 references entertainment devices and states that it is illegal to use hand-held electronic devices that are unrelated to the safe operation of the motor vehicle.
This means NO texting, emailing, talking, programming your GPS or HOLDING our cell phone, iPod or GPS while driving. Simply checking your phone at a stop sign or traffic light (even if your are not moving) is a violation. It is common that clients reach for their cell phone to simply check the time. If this act is seen, by a police officer a defendant (client) will be charged.
The experts at OTD Legal Services expect an increase in the number of people wanting to fight cell phone charges. Currently if charged with a hand-held communication device violation the set fine is $225.00 but it is possible to face fines up to $500.00. Currently there are no points associated with a cell phone charge. The proposed new legislation, if passed will increase the maximum fine for distracted driving/ hand-held device, to $1000.00 and three demerit points.
For many drivers, the risk of demerit points outweighs the possibility of paying a fine. Demerit points and/or a conviction can affect your insurance rates significantly.
It is not enough to just know the consequences of using your cell phone. You need to know how to fight the charge and minimize the consequences of the offence. Call OTD Legal services to discuss your options. We know the law!