Distracting Driving: A Cause for Car Accidents in Toronto

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Distracting Driving: A Cause for Car Accidents in Toronto
Pokemon Go has been making the news around the world, as this popular app is changing the way people are looking at their surroundings. Instead of looking up, people are looking down on the sidewalks and city streets, furiously searching for their favourite Pokemon. The goal is to “catch em all,” and, for some, this means doing anything to accomplish this goal. People have been getting into serious car accidents, arrested for trespassing, and even robbing other Pokemon Go players by misusing the games’ GPS device. 
Recently, Quebec City experienced their first Pokemon Go-related accident, and it wasn’t all fun and games. A driver and passenger were both playing the game on their smart phones, when they reversed quickly and crashed into a police cruiser. The police officers involved were sent to the hospital, as they experienced minor injuries in the accident. Both passenger and driver admitted to playing the game when the accident happened, and two $30 tickets were given to the driver of the vehicle after the motor vehicle accident. Let’s hope that we don’t start seeing more car accidents in Toronto as a result of this popular game. 

Distracted Driving in Ontario 

What is distracted driving? 

Distracted driving is when you use any handheld device when you’re driving or anything that takes away from your focus on the roads. This could be using your phone to text or call, eating, putting on makeup, playing Pokemon Go, etc. Whether your car is in motion (driving on the highway) or stopped (at a red light), these distracted driving activities are dangerous for you and every other driver around you. 

Distracted driving causes one person to be injured every half hour, and a driver who uses their phone in the car is four times more likely to crash than any other driver on the road. It’s a bad habit that a driver might overlook if they have not yet been caught, but that’s the minimum consequence for this dangerous driving behavior. 

What are the penalties of distracted driving?

There are different distracted driving penalties based on your driver’s license. If you have an A, B, C, D, E, F, or G licence, your penalty will be greater than the penalty a novice driver will face with the same offense. 

Here are the penalties for drivers with A to G licenses: 

• A fine of $490, if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee);
• A fine of up to $1,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose; and
• Three demerit points. 

Here are the penalties for novice drivers (drivers that hold a G1, G2, M1, or M2 license):

• A 30-day licence suspension for a first conviction;
• A 90-day licence suspension for a second conviction; and 
• A cancellation of your licence and removal from the Graduated Licensing System (GLS) for a third conviction
o To get your licence back you’d have to redo the GLS program. 

These are the penalties that you could face if you continue to engage in distracted driving behavior and refuse to change your poor driving habits. If you want to avoid these penalties, then keep your hand held devices out of sight and out of mind. You are allowed to use a hands-free device (e.g. Bluetooth) or a mounter device (e.g. phone, GPS) as long as it is secure when you are driving. Even if you are caught driving and holding the phone or hand-held device in your hand, you can be charged, because this is against the law. 

Careless Driving Penalties

If you endanger other drivers as a result of your careless driving mistakes, be prepared to face serious penalties including:

• Six demerit points;
• A fine up to $2,000 and/or;
• A jail term of six months; and
• A license suspension of up to two years. 

These penalties are serious, because there are serious consequences for distracted driving! Next time you’re about to grab your phone to look at a text, ask yourself if it’s worth someone’s life or causing a car accident in Toronto or your area to pick up the phone. Make better decisions on the road, and avoid these harsh penalties; it’s that simple. 

Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer in the GTA

Distracted driving causes serious car accidents in Toronto, but new apps such as Pokemon Go make it even harder for people to leave their phones alone. Although these apps might be tempting, it’s your duty and responsibility as a driver to put the phone away! If you have any questions concerning distracted driving laws or were involved in an accident and need a personal injury lawyer to help you with your case, book your free consultation with a Toronto personal injury lawyer at Sokoloff Lawyers today.