Police Remind Motorists that Distracted Driving is Not Worth the Risk

Police Remind Motorists that Distracted Driving is Not Worth the Risk

The Waterloo Regional Police Service is committed to road safety, including a focus on putting an end to distracted driving.

From January 1, 2021, to May 1, 2021, officers have laid 395 distracted driving charges. In the same time period as last year, 157 distracted driving charges were laid.

Distracted Driving is anything that causes a driver to lose focus on the road. This includes holding hand-held communication and entertainment devices or viewing display screens unrelated to the driving task. 

Motorists who are convicted of a Distracted Driving offence are liable to face a fine of $615.00 and three demerit points. If convicted of a second or third offence, motorists may face fines of $1,000 up to $3,000, as well as six demerit points for multiple offences. Upon a conviction in court, drivers could also have their license suspended for three days on a first offence, seven days after two convictions, and 30 days for third and further convictions. 

To help you understand what is considered distracted driving, please read the commonly asked questions.  

Q: What is the law regarding holding a hand-held device (ie. cell phone, ipads, ipods) and texting and driving? 

A: The Highway Traffic Act prohibits you from holding any hand held device while you are driving - whether you are talking on the phone, reading, typing or sending a text message. The only exception would be calling 9-1-1 in an emergency. If you need to call 9-1-1, please pull off the roadway to make that call.  

Q: Can I use my hand-held device when I’m stopped at a red light? 

A: As a driver of a motor vehicle, you must be pulled off the roadway and not impeding traffic, or lawfully parked to use your handheld device.    

A: Provided that your phone is attached to blue tooth or mounted to your dash, you are allowed to accept and end phone calls by pressing the ‘accept’ or ‘end’ button.  

Q: Can I use a GPS while I am driving? 

A: You can use a GPS, provided that it is mounted on the dashboard or windshield, and you enter the address before you begin to drive. If you are entering an address while you are driving this is considered distracted driving and you may be liable to a fine. 

A: The law does not inhibit you from eating while you are driving, however we don’t recommend eating anything that requires both hands and your eyes taken off the roadway. In the event that you are involved in a collision, and you were distracted by actions such as eating, drinking, smoking, reading or reaching for objects, you can be charged with careless or dangerous driving. 

Q: Is having a pet sitting on my lap considered distracted driving? 

A: Section 162 of the Highway Traffic Act states that no motorist shall drive with persons or property in the front of the vehicle or occupying the driver’s seat, as it may interfere with the care and control of the motor vehicle. To avoid being distracted by your pet, ensure that it is placed in the rear seat to avoid a 'Drive while crowded’ charge.    

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