It is hard to explain why so many people insist on texting while they are driving – or trying to drive. Certainly, the young people are the worst culprits, however, I am constantly see adults texting while driving as well – and I hate to say it, but when it comes to adults, my informal study shows it to be mostly the women and not the men. Women are brazen enough to put on eyeliner while they are driving, so texting is nothing to them. What do the more civilized men do – we drink coffee and read the paper…okay, maybe we will shave, but we can do that without taking our eyes off the road. All kidding aside, texting while driving is a very serious matter and fines and demerit points have been to put in place to help deter people from texting while driving, but despite the penalties, texting while driving persists. Ontario has been one of the most outspoken on drivers, especially young people – in April 2009, Ontario banned the use of handheld devices while driving. If you were caught talking, texting, surfing the web or even holding your device while driving you would get a fine upward of $280.
Premier Kathleen Wynne was upset over a report that showed over 36% of Ontario students in grades 10 to 12 have texted while driving at least once in the past year. She said: “It’s very worrisome to me because when young people start to have a habit of driving and texting, that’s harder to break… These machines are so ubiquitous in their lives that they just have them with them all the time, and so we need to break that cycle.” Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said the tough new provincial legislation that will be introduced this October will face the toughest fines in Canada – up to $1,000 and three demerit points. He said, “Part of it is increasing the fines, part of it is the demerit points and part of it is obviously a very aggressive, robust public awareness campaign to make sure people understand about the dangers…I look forward to reintroducing this legislation and getting it passed as soon as possible. I think it has broad support in the legislature â€” it certainly seemed to when it was introduced last time.”
Distracted driving deaths are now the number one reason for automobile accidents – 78 people died last year alone. Compare that to 57 deaths for impaired driving and 44 for accidents related to speeding. Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Vince Hawkes said it is such a waste of life and that it’s so frustrating to see. He noted that over the Labor Day weekend they would be conducting an all-out blitz on distracted drivers. There were 19,000 charges in 2013, up from 16,000 the year before – Toronto gave out 55,000 tickets for distractive driving charges between 2010 and 2012. This new bill will hike fines from $60 – $500 up to $300 – $1,000 and three demerit points – currently no points are included. These points can really cost the driver money through insurance premiums and loss of one’s license. It will be interesting to see if the increased penalties will have any impact on distracting driving…please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know if you text why you drive…as always, we would love to hear from you.