To start the tear, Ontario became the latest province to increase fines and other penalties associated with distracted driving, complete with licence suspensions.
As of Jan. 1, first convictions carry fines of $615 to $1,000 – depending on whether a ticket is settled out of court, or fought in court and lost – along with three demerit points and a three-day licence suspension.
Repeat offenders face additional penalties. The maximum fine for a second conviction lost in court is now $2,000, and that’s accompanied by six demerit points and a seven-day licence suspension. Third and subsequent convictions carry maximum fines of up to $3,000, six demerit points, and 30-day licence suspensions.
Simply holding a cell phone or device while driving will run afoul of the Ontario law.
Exceptions to the rules include calling 911 during an emergency, or using mobile devices when lawfully parked or safely pulled off the roadway and not impeding traffic.
Commercial drivers are also allowed to view the displays on mobile data, tracking and dispatching devices.
Drivers can also view displays on collision avoidance systems, or an “instrument, gauge or system that provides information on the conditions, use and immediate environment of the vehicle or that provides road or weather information.”
Meanwhile, an exemption for CB radios remains in place until at least January 1, 2021. MTO extended the exemption from an earlier January 1, 2018 deadline to “allow for the development of more viable hands-free technologies.”
In the U.S., commercial motor vehicle drivers can face fines up to $2,750 for using handheld mobile phones while at the wheel. Employers who require drivers to use handheld communications devices at the wheel face the threat of $11,000 fines.
Full article here.