Distracted Driving Penalties Increase in Ontario
Mandatory licence suspensions added to increased fines
Ontario has stiffened the penalties for its distracted driving laws. Under the Highway Traffic Actit was already an offence for any person to drive a motor vehicle “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.” In the Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, which came into force on January 1 2019, the penalties have been significantly increased.
The offence now carries a fine of between $500 and $1000 for a first offences, with the maximum increasing to $2000 for a second offence, and $3000 for subsequent offences. In addition, conviction now carries a mandatory licence suspension: three days for a first offences, seven days for a second offences, and 30 days for any subsequent offences.