defending drivers across Toronto, ON

distracted driving & devices

Fighting A Cell Phone Ticket / Distracted Driving in Ontario?

An option must be selected with the court within 15 days of receiving the offence. The court will schedule a meeting with the prosecutor and set a court date. You and/or your representative will need to be prepared to attend all dates set by the court, answer any questions and provide a cross-examination to the judge. Evidence will be requested from the officer and provided prior to trial. 

How Long Does a Cell Phone/Distracted Driving ticket in Ontario Stay on Your Record? 

Demerit points from a Cell Phone / Distracted Driving in Ontario are on your driving record for two years from the offence date. Convictions remain on your record for three years from the date of conviction. 

Penalties for A to G and M driver’s first distracted driving in Ontario conviction includes; an approximate fine of $615 to $1000, 3 demerit points and a 3 day licence suspension. Second conviction penalties include an approximate fine of $615 to $2000, 6 demerit points and a 7 day licence suspension. While a third and any further conviction can result in fines up to $3000, 6 demerit points and a 30 day licence suspension. 

Novice driver’s carrying a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence face the same fines as A to G and M driver’s however they do not receive any demerit points and serve longer suspensions instead. First conviction holds a 30 days suspension, second is a 90 day suspension and if a third conviction is received the driver will be removed from the Licencing System and must redo the program again. 

distracted driving cell phone ticket in Ontario

Is Distracted Driving a Criminal Offence in Ontario? 

A Cell Phone / Distracted Driving in Ontario is not a criminal offence. It is considered a provincial Highway Traffic Act Offence. 

78.1 (1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device or other prescribed device that is capable of receiving or transmitting telephone communications, electronic data, mail or text messages. 2009, c. 4, s. 2; 2015, c. 27, Sched. 7, s. 18. 

Entertainment devices 

(2) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held electronic entertainment device or other prescribed device the primary use of which is unrelated to the safe operation of the motor vehicle. 2009, c. 4, s. 2. 

Hands-free mode allowed

(3) Despite subsections (1) and (2), a person may drive a motor vehicle on a highway while using a device described in those subsections in hands-free mode. 2009, c. 4, s. 2

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Helpful Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving in Ontario

  • Put your phone on silent to prevent notifications tempting you to check.

  • Put it away in the glove box, purse or bag until you arrive at your destination.

  • Ask a passenger to handle the phone.

  • Pre-program the GPS.

    Although cell phones and GPS units may be the most common reasons among Distracted Driving in Ontario charges, it is possible to receive a ticket for eating while driving, adjusting the radio or display screen, dealing with passengers, kids or pets and anything else that may take your attention away from the road.

Distracted driving stats across ontario

Drivers using a handheld device while behind the wheel are at least four times as likely to be in an accident, all it takes is a momentary distraction for something to happen. Distracted driving in Ontario accounts for about 17% of accidents on the roads right now. Since 2000 the number of deaths caused by distracted driving in Ontario has doubled. One person is injured every half hour in a distracted driving collision. 

In a recent study nearly 100% of young drivers aged 16-24 years know it is illegal, even while at a complete stop, to use a cell phone while driving. However over 55% admitted to reading and/or responding to texts or making calls.

If other people were put in danger due to the driver being distracted by a handheld device, they may also face a Careless Driving charge which carries 6 further demerit points, approximate fines of $2000, 6 months in jail and a licence suspension up to two years. Furthermore, if the distracted driving leads to serious injuries or death, a driver may be charged with Dangerous Driving which is considered a criminal charge that carries heavier penalties including up to 10 years in jail. 

The only time you are permitted to use your phone while driving is to contact 911 in case of an emergency. You should still pull over to make the call.

If you must use your phone for a non-emergency, pull over, make sure your car is lawfully parked and not blocking traffic.

Demerit points across ontario

Did you know...

7 Points – Failing to Remain at Scene of Accident

7 Points – Driver failing to stop when signaled or requested to by a police officer

6 Points – Careless Driving

6 Points – Racing

6 Points – Failing to Stop for School Bus

6 Points – Exceeding Speed limit by 50 Kilometers per hour or more

5 Points – Driver of public vehicle or School Bus failing to stop at Railway Crossings

4 Points – Exceeding Speed limit by 30-49 Kilometers per hour

4 Points – Following too closely

3 Points – Exceeding Speed limit by 16-29 Kilometers per hour

3 Points – Driving through, around, or under Railway Crossing Barrier

3 Points – Failing to Yield Right of Way

3 Points – Failing to obey a stop sign, signal light or Railway Crossing Signal

3 Points – Failing to Obey directions of police constable

3 Points – Driving or operating a vehicle on a closed highway

3 Points – Failing to report an accident

3 Points – Improper passing

3 Points – Improper Driving where highway divided into lanes

3 Points – Crowding Driver’s Seat

3 Points – Drive Wrong Way – Divided Highway

3 Points – Cross Divided highway – No proper crossing provided

3 Points – Wrong Way in one way Street or Traffic

3 Points – Failing to slow down and proceed with caution when approaching stopped emergency vehicle

3 Points – Failing to move into another lane when approaching stopped emergency vehicle – if safe to do

2 Points – Backing on a highway

2 Points – Pedestrian Crossover

2 Points – Failing to share road

2 Points – Improper Right Turn

2 Points – Improper Left Turn

2 Points – Failing to Signal

2 Points – Unnecessary Slow Driving

2 Points – Failing to lower headlamp beam

2 Points – Improper opening of vehicle door

2 Points – Prohibited Turns

2 Points – Towing of persons on toboggans, bicycles, skis, etc. prohibited

2 Points – Failing to obey sign prescribed by regulation under subsection 182(1)

2 Points – Driver failing to wear complete Seatbelt assembly

2 Points – Driver failing to ensure passenger under 16 years wears complete seatbelt assembly

2 Points – Driver failing to ensure child passenger under 23 Kilograms occupies position with seatbelt

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