New distracted driving laws will be coming into effect in Ontario in the new year, but won’t be limited to just texting and talking on the phone. The Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act originally was created in 2017, but will strengthen existing road safety laws due to the legalization of recreational marijuana. With these new penalties, Ontario will have the strictest distracted driving laws in the country.
As of January 1st, distracted drivers will be subjected to the following penalties:
- First offence: 3 days suspension and $1,000 fine
- Second offence: 7 days suspension and $2,000 fine
- Three or more offences: 30 days suspension, $3,000 fine and six demerit points
If a novice driver is charged with distracted driving, they will be subjected to the following penalties, instead of demerit points:
- a 30-day licence suspension for a first conviction
- a 90-day licence suspension for a second conviction
- cancellation of your licence for a third conviction
How will my insurance be affected if I’m charged with distracted driving?
If you’re charged with any driving offence, you could be considered a “high-risk” driver, and would no longer qualify for standard insurance rates. Convictions on your record can result in higher insurance premiums, and could even force you to find a new insurance provider.
Along with having to pay a hefty fine, insurance premiums for drivers convicted of distracted driving may rise between 10% – 20%. If you cause a collision while texting and driving, your insurer may increase your premiums by at least 50%.
What should I do if I’ve been in an accident with a distracted driver?
If your vehicle has become involved in an accident, it’s important that you get in contact with your insurance provider as soon as possible and submit a claim. Do you have questions about your car insurance premiums? Contact us!