A south Ottawa man now has the support of city councillors in his wish for distracted drivers to receive demerit points in addition to the fine that is handed out by police.

Rick Levesque says too many drivers are distracted by texting, talking or eating. After he saw a crash this past summer and attended to a woman rear-ended, his frustration boiled over.

He started a petition to give distracted drivers demerit points.

“They pay the fine, they don't care, but if you start looking at the insurance rate going up, eventually your licence will be suspended,” he said.

“I think it'll make a difference.”

Fines handed out since 2010

Rick Levesque distracted driving

Rick Levesque says punishment for distracted driving needs to have a long-lasting impact to curb drivers' habits. (Alistair Steele/CBC)

The distracted driving ban first became a law in Ontario in October 2009 and fines of $155 have been handed out since February 2010. 

His MPP, Lisa MacLeod, and councilors now back Levesque as the city’s transportation committee voted to support the idea on Wednesday.

Coun. Tim Tierney tabled a motion pushing the Ontario government to update the Highway Traffic Act to punish distracted drivers. His motion cites an Ontario Provincial Police report that states distracted driving is a causal factor in 30 to 50 per cent of the province's traffic collisions. 

"I don't find this a partisan issue at all. I've spoken to people from all parties within the province and they seem very keen with moving ahead with this legislation," said Tierney.

The idea also has the support of the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Canadian Automobile Association.

There will be a news conference in Toronto on Nov. 5, organized by MacLeod’s office, pushing for Levesque’s request. The city wants to decide on whether to approve the idea before that event.

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(Source: CAA/AAA)