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Cell phones

Cell phones can be an important safety aid for drivers, but using a cell phone while driving takes a driver’s attention away from the task of driving and increases the risk of collision. Viewing display screens unrelated to driving, such as laptop computers and portable DVD players, is prohibited while driving. Distracted drivers are more likely to make mistakes or react too slowly. As of September 1, 2015, if convicted, a fully licensed driver (holder of Class A, B, C, D, E, F, G) or a hybrid driver (holder of a full-class licence and a novice licence such as Class G and M1) who talks, texts, types, dials or e-mails using hand-held cellular phones and other hand-held communications and entertainment devices faces fines of up to $1,000 and three demerit points applied to their driver’s record under Ontario’s distracted driving law. A novice driver (subject to the graduated licensing program) convicted of distracted driving will be subject to escalating sanctions (30-day licence suspension for a first occurrence; 90 days for a second occurrence; and licence cancellation and removal from the Graduated Licensing System for a third occurrence).

Police can also charge drivers with careless driving or even dangerous driving (a criminal offence) if they do not pay full attention to the driving task. If you are convicted of careless driving, you will get six demerit points and can be fined up to $2,000 and sentenced to up to six months in jail. In some cases, your licence may be suspended for up to two years.

Make it a habit to pull over and park to use your cell phone or have a passenger take the call, or let it go to voice mail. If you must use a cell phone when driving, use it hands-free.

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