Researchers have found that when driving at 60 kilometres an hour, a driver trying to text just three characters can cover the length of a football field. And despite the amount of potential damage or death that could cause, it’s alarming to see just how many people continue to drive distracted. Phil Perkins took a ride with Halton Police and clarified what is and isn’t considered distracted driving and what they hope is a solution for this dangerous trend.
It took less than a minute for Constable Marc Taraso to catch a driver being ticketed for distracted driving.
When standing at a busy intersection, police say they can’t keep up with the number of drivers they catch on their phones.
At the side of the road, with a bike officer just up the street, they looked for people on their phones- and caught one just seconds later.
Ontario’s traffic law says that you can’t use any electronic handheld device while behind the wheel. But snacking, drinking coffee and fiddling with your car’s infotainment system is okay, as long as you stay focused on driving.
“If you start swerving in your lane or start making the roadway less dangerous for other people you can be charged with careless driving at that point.”
A careless driving conviction includes a $490 fine and six demerit points. That’s the same fine, but double the points, as distracted driving.
Last summer, the OPP reported that driving distracted caused twice as many fatalities as impaired driving. Constable Taraso hopes people start treating distracted drivers like those who had been drinking.
“Tell the drivers to stop doing it, to pull over to use their phone, or to let them out of the car because they don’t want any part of it.”