Starting today, giving in to the temptation to check a text message or email while driving could cost you a whole lot more, as the fine for distracted driving in Ontario has now almost doubled.
Sudbury's acting police chief Dan Markiewich said he and his officers see it all, including some creative ideas for avoiding distracted driving fines.
One driver’s “cellphone was placed inside an empty coffee cup,” he said.
“So when you are looking at someone it would appear that they just have their coffee cup in their hand. After a closer look and investigation, [we] realized that the individual had a cell phone because he was actually talking into the cup.”
If this driver was caught today, he or she would be slapped with a $280 fine, up from $155 dollars.
Markiewich offered some better advice for avoiding one of those big fines: turn off your cell phone while driving, or get a hands-free device.
Provincial Police say there are now more fatalities on the roads because of distracted driving than due to speeding or drunk driving — and that distracted driving is cited as a causal factor in 30 to 50 per cent of traffic collisions.
It's believed 78 people in Ontario were killed last year in collisions related to distracted driving.
Markiewich said the doubling of fines is an appropriate step.
“It is a concern and hopefully this increase may assist. Anything we can do to take away distracted driving here in Ontario is something our service would agree and be supportive of.”
Beyond cellphone use, distracted driving fines can also be levied for other distractions, such as putting on makeup or tending to children in the backseat while driving, Markiewich said.