At Service Pro Truck Lines safety is literally job one. Our drivers are our family. Recently, we added five new vehicles to our fleet in part to reflect our continual commitment to enhancing safety. That’s why today we’re talking about the new distracted driving laws in Ontario and urging everyone not to be a “D.D.” (Distracted Driver.) Before we continue however, it’s important to note that these days the term “D.D.” has become synonymous with other serious driving issues including: drunk driving (bad) and/or being a designated driver (good.) So, more than anything what we want to emphasize is this: if you’re going to be a “D.D.” – make sure it’s the good kind!
The new Distracted Driving laws came into effect on New Year’s Day and are a reflection of the impact technology has had on all of our lives. With the use of cell phones, GPS devices, the perceived need for immediate responsiveness and our seemingly habitual addiction to technology, we’ve become a nation of drivers who these days seem to be doing anything EXCEPT driving while behind the wheel. Driving (especially when you do it for a living like we do) is hard work and requires your full concentration. These new laws are probably long overdue. While applicable here in Ontario (the location of Service Pro Truck Lines Head Offices) the reality is, distracted driving is taking place across the continent and is something we all need to take the time to be aware of and focus on changing.Here is a short synopsis for those of you travelling the #400 series of highways throughout Ontario:
- The law came into effect January 1st, 2019
- The Government of Ontario will consider “anything that causes a driver to be less focused on the road” as distracted driving.
- Talking, texting, dialing or emailing while using/holding a hand-held device is against the law.
- Simply holding an electronic device is against the law. Using it “only” while stopped at a stoplight is also prohibited.
- Use of any “entertainment” device (ie: a tablet) while operating a motor vehicle is against the law.
- Typing a location into your GPS will cost you. Reading while driving is also prohibited. (Really? Do we need to actually tell people this? Apparently we do!)
- Eating might also be considered a distracted driving offense although it may not necessarily result in a license suspension.
- First offenders will receive a fine up to $1000.00 and/or a license suspension of three days PLUS lose three demerit points.
- A second offense will result in fines of up to $2,000.00 and a seven day license suspension and the loss of six demerit points.
- Third (or more) offenses will cost you $3000.00 and a thirty day license suspension.
- It’s imperative that we note for trucking purposes, fines for those who hold an A,B,C,D,E,F,G,or M license face much stiffer penalties.
Ontario Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek says these changes allow the province to address unsafe driving behaviours that include careless driving and impaired driving with a view to improving overall road safety. Statistically, distracted drivers are four times more likely to crash so whether the distraction is the result of talking on a phone, texting, eating or anything else – it’s likely, as we said in our opening paragraph, that the reality is this legislation is long overdue.
We’ve heard from a number of drivers who are asking questions about whether the use of headphones (for example) are allowed under the new legislation and/or whether drinking coffee while driving is considered a distraction. These are fair questions and the answers to all of these and any other information on the new rules affecting Ontario drivers can be found on the Government of Ontario’s website at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/distracted-driving. That’s it for now from Service Pro Truck Lines – Drive Safely!
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