WHAT IS DISTRACTED DRIVING IN ONTARIO?
One thing that comes up from day to day and practicing in the highway traffic world that I do is, and it’s quite common these days, and that is, what is distracted driving in Ontario? It’s a concerning thing these days because that seems to be, these distractions and these convictions seem to be driving up personal insurance rates.
So I’m going to try to answer today. What is distracted driving in Ontario? And I’m going to, I’m going to refer to two different sections of the Highway Traffic Act, which should encapsulate what, what is in fact, distracted driving. Careless driving is, is a term you may have used. And if you’re distracted by putting on your makeup, or are sipping on a coffee, or eating a hamburger while driving down the road, and while doing so, you’re speeding up and slowing down, and you’re changing lanes, or coming out of your lane and potentially driving in a manner that’s not in accordance with the normal driving you may be charged with careless driving.
The other type of distracted driving charges that you hear about are cell phones. Touching your cell phones, being on your cell phone, things like that. So, really there’s two types of legislation. It’s under section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act, careless driving. And section 78 sub 1 which is a handheld communication device and you touching it.
And that causing the same sorts of things. That, that slight distraction. usually manifests in, in either higher speeds or lower speeds or lane wandering, behaviors that would raise the eyebrow of any officer observing that. These types of behaviors are, are not the types of behaviors that, you know, a fellow motorist would be observing and then reporting, but you will be observed if you’re observed, being observed, if you’re doing that type of thing by a police officer, you can expect that you would be pulled over and you could anticipate seeing one of those two types of charges. If in fact that officer sees you looking at your cell phone or touching your cell phone while driving, even stopped at a red light.
If you’re looking at your cell phone while stopped, which in my mind, in your mind, I’m sure it’s perfectly safe, and “What’s gone wrong here?” The reality is very technical, but if an officer sees you holding your cell phone, even while stopped, he could charge you with that particular offense.