The Ontario government plans to introduce legislation that will increase the penalties for careless and distracted driving, as well as introducing a new offence when careless driving leads to serious injury or death.

What is distracted driving?

While many people immediately think about texting and driving, in Ontario, “distracted driving” is a very broad term which encompasses any activity that takes your attention away from the road. This includes looking at your phone, as well as eating, checking your makeup, or using an in-dash GPS unit. Drivers can be convicted of distracted driving even if their vehicle is stationary, such as at a red light, and regardless of whether their actions cause an accident. Drivers convicted of distracted driving must pay a fine, as well as receiving demerit points.

Careless driving is any action behind the wheel that endangers another person. The penalties for careless driving are more severe, and include jail time and long-term suspension of your license.

Higher penalties proposed for all distracted driving offences

These new laws will create Canada’s toughest regime to punish distracted drivers. The potential penalties for both distracted driving and careless driving will be increased, with higher fines and more demerit points. Repeat distracted driving offenders will face higher fines with each conviction.

If an individual is convicted of careless driving causing bodily harm, or death, the maximum penalty includes six demerit points, a five-year license suspension, a fine of up to $50,000, and up to two years in jail.

Personal injury experts advising victims of distracted driving

When careless or distracted driving leads to an accident, seriously injured victims need advice from a lawyer that specializes in handling complex matters. For over four decades, the lawyers at Jasmine Daya & Co. have helped clients obtain compensation for severe and catastrophic injuries after a motor vehicle accident, and can advise victims of distracted driving accidents. We offer free consultations for new clients. Contact us today online, or by calling our office at 416-967-9100.