Canada is rolling out stricter laws on distracted driving after a rise in related deaths in Ontario and British Columbia. Fines and penalties are getting heftier, and the RCMP wants to remind Canadians that they treat distracted driving as a form of impaired driving.
By now everyone should know to put their cellphones away while driving but, the RCMP defines distracted driving as “a driver’s judgment is compromised when they are not fully focused on the road.” This includes texting, reading, using GPS, personal grooming, adjusting the radio/CD, playing extremely loud music, smoking, eating/drinking, or driving while fatigued. Talking to passengers can even be considered a form of distracted driving.
While each province has their own distracted driving laws, some fines can cost you over $500 as well as the loss of 4 demerit points. The RCMP says distracted driving leads to reduced reaction time and impaired judgement.
On the RCMP website, they recommend planning your route ahead of time, securing all objects in the car, and avoid eating or drinking while driving. The only exception they offer is pulling over with hazard lights on to call 9-1-1 in an emergency situation.