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Ontario increases penalties for drivers who text, email, talk on phone

Ontario Provincial Police say distracted driving is becoming the No. 1 killer on the roads


 

TORONTO — Ontario politicians are expected to pass legislation today that increases fines and penalties for drivers who text, email or use a handheld phone, to a maximum of $1,000 and three demerit points.

Using handheld electronic devices while driving has been outlawed in Ontario since 2009, except for 911 emergency calls.

Current legislation allows for fines ranging from $60 to $500, which would jump to a range of $300 to $1,000 under the new legislation.

Ontario Provincial Police say distracted driving is becoming the No. 1 killer on the roads, accounting for more deaths than impaired driving or speed-related collisions.

A 2014 survey by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health found more than one-third of licensed Ontario students in Grades 10 to 12 admitted to having texted while driving at least once in the previous year.

The government says distracted drivers are four times more likely to be in a crash.


 

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