670 charged with distracted driving during week-long blitz

Toronto police ride public transit to catch distracted drivers

Driver on phone does not see pedestrian
Phone usage while driving is causing pedestrian injuries, police say.  Corne Van Hoepen/Toronto Observer

Toronto police have spent a week watching drivers from buses, streetcars, and unmarked vehicles. As a result, 670 drivers have been charged with distracted driving, according to a Toronto police press release.

“A stigma around distracted driving needs to be felt by everyone,” Sergeant Brett Moore said of the police blitz. “We need to look at hand-held device distractions like we do impaired driving. Both are leading causes of collisions and injury and both should be unacceptable.”

As of Jan.1, Ontario has introduced stricter laws aimed at drivers who choose to drive and use their devices. For a first offence, the fine ranges from $615 to $1,000, a three-day licence suspension and three demerit points if caught. For a second offence , the fine increases to $2,000 and, for a third offence, $3,000.

Moore said the public’s response to these laws has been varied. Some people apparently think these laws are too strict and others think they are not strict enough, he said.

“I think the new penalties for distracted driving will make drivers think twice before choosing to use their devices,” said Kellen Jackson, who is a new driver. “I definitely do not have $1,000 to throw away.”

A large part of this campaign’s success was zero tolerance, enforcement police said in their press release. They believe a clear message has been sent on their approach to distracted driving.

About this article

Copy editor: Eric McMillan
Posted: Jan 22 2019 2:02 pm
Filed under: News