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Ontario's New Driving Penalities

Distracted driving has been a growing problem in Ontario for the past decade. Recent statistics from Ontario's Ministry of Transport shows an average of 48 collisions a day attributed to distracted driving. These numbers have doubled in the past decade, likely in line with the increasing prevalence of cellphones and other electronic devices in modern cars.

To combat this problem, Ontario has passed several laws making it illegal to hold a phone or any other device while driving. It is simply illegal just to hold them, let alone use them.

But there are exceptions to the rule, as long as they are done safely. You can use:
  • Any hands-free device (e.g. Bluetooth) but only to turn it on and off
  • mounted device (e.g. phone, GPS) as long as it is secure  – not moving around while driving
New penalties
Much has been made of the new, stiffer penalities which came to effect January 2019. These include, for first conviction, a fine of $615, if settled out of court (or a fine of up to $1,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court) AND lose three demerit points AND 3-day suspension. It only gets stricter with second and further convictions.

If you have a G1 or G2, you will not get demerit points but receive a 30 or 90-day licence suspension so be very careful.

If convicted of careless driving because you endangered someone else, you can get a fine up to $2000 or a jail term of 6 months.