This month (September) has been deemed “Distracted Driving Month” for 2019 by the RCMP. This means there is a stronger police presence on the roads. Additionally, the RCMP are implementing greater enforcement tactics for distracted driving.
Distracted Driving Statistics
“Distracted driving is responsible for more than 25% of all car crash fatalities and is the second leading cause of fatal collisions in BC.” The RCMP reports that each year, an average of 78 people die in car accidents due to distracted driving. In BC alone, approximately 12,000 people have multiple distracted driving offences.
Consequences and Fines
In British Columbia, a distracted driver will receive a fine of $368 and four penalty points for their first offence. This comes to a total of $543. For a second offence, the fines can total as much as $2,000. The costs continue to go up with each subsequent offense.
In Ontario the consequences are a bit more severe. A distracted driver receives an automatic summons to attend court. If they are convicted for the first time, the fine can be as much as $1,000 and three penalty points. A second conviction could result in a fine of $2,000 and a seven-day license suspension. A third conviction could mean a fine of $3,000 and a 30-day suspension.
Snacks, Drinks, and Mascara
So, what exactly is distracted driving? Most people think of using their cellular device while driving. And yes, that does qualify, but the list does not stop there. According to the RCMP, “distracted driving” means anything that distracts you from the road.
This includes: reading books and maps, eating, drinking, using a GPS, using earphones, playing extremely loud music, adjusting the radio, personal grooming, smoking, etc. ICBC even identifies “chatting with passengers” as a potential distracted driving offence. Ultimately, they do not restrict what constitutes “distracted driving” because truly anything may serve as a distraction.
Yes, the list of potential distracted driving offenses is technically endless. That may seem daunting or even a bit extreme on the part of the RCMP. However, the main goal is difficult to argue with: all drivers need to pay close attention to the road. If getting every last drop out of your Dr. Pepper means that you have to take your eyes off the road, don’t do it. If you are extremely lost and you need to consult your Google Maps, pull over. The fines may be steep, but they serve as an efficient deterrent to distracted driving.