Update: see previous posts April 26, 2011 10 Day OPP Seatbelt Blitz Results in 1,791 Passenger Seatbelt Charges Laid and 140 Charges Laid for Improperly Installed/Secured Child Restraint, April 9, 2011 O.P.P’s Seatbelt Enforcement Campaign – April 13 – 23, 2011 inclusive, Requirement to Wear Seatbelts, December 30, 2010 Ontario’s Seatbelt Law is 35 Years Old – January 1, 2011, December 1, 2010 – Huge Fine Increases begin Today
The Ontario Provincial Police will begin a “distracted driving” blitz on Ontario’s highways from Monday, May 16 to Monday 22. 2011 inclusive.
This is also Canada Road Safety Week, which concludes at the end of the Victoria Day weekend.
The Ontario Provincial Police (the “OPP”) will begin the first week of a four (4) week blitz, regarding distracted driving, over the next 12 months, according to the OPP.
This is the message on the OPP website:
“Distracted driving is defined as engaging in any secondary activity which takes a driver’s attention away from driving and can include: adjusting the radio, searching for something in the car; eating while driving, watching an entertainment monitor or using a hand-held communications device or other entertainment device.
Using a cell phone or device capable of texting while driving can result in a fine of $155 under Section 78.1 of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA). Watching an entertainment device can result in a fine of $110 under Section 78 of the HTA. Other forms of distracted driving can result in a charge of Careless Driving with fines ranging from $400 to $2,000, a possible licence suspension of up to two years and/or a jail term of not more than six months” and the accumulation of six (6) demerit points on your driving record.
The OPP’s website lists these “Fast Facts on Distracted Driving”:
- In 2010, the OPP charged 8,522 drivers under Section 78.1 of the HTA for using a hand-held device while driving.
- Police began enforcing the new distraction legislation in January 2010.
- In 2010, there were 7,733 collisions on OPP-patrolled roads where the driver was deemed to be inattentive/distracted, resulting in 35 deaths, 1,040 injuries and considerable property damage. (Note: The preceding statistics refer to all forms of distracted/inattentive driving, not just the use of hand-held devices as outlined in Section 78.1, HTA.)
- A recent study by researchers at the University of Utah concluded that drivers on mobile phones are more impaired than drivers driving over the legal limit.
- A Canadian Automobile Association poll of 6,000 Canadian drivers found that “texting while driving” is the single biggest traffic safety concern of drivers while on the road.
- A recent Ontario Health E-Bulletin indicated: “Teen-driver car crashes remain the leading cause of permanent injury and death in Canada, the United States and almost every industrialized nation world wide”. The main culprit is teenage overconfidence in emerging driving skills and a failure to acknowledge personal limitations. Teenagers falsely believe they can “drive distracted” without increasing the risk of a serious collision.