Toronto police put spotlight on distracted drivers in new campaign

Distracted drivers can be as dangerous as impaired drivers, Toronto police say at the start of a one-week campaign to reduce crashes from inattention behind the wheel.

'That Text or Call Could End It All' began on Monday to warn of dangers of hand-held devices

Distracted drivers can be as dangerous as impaired drivers, Toronto police said at the start of a one-week campaign to reduce crashes from inattention. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Distracted drivers can be as dangerous as impaired drivers, Toronto police said Monday at the start of a week-long campaign to reduce crashes from inattention.

Police launched the "That Text or Call Could End It All" campaign to let drivers know that it's risky to talk, text, type, dial and email with hand-held devices, such as cell phones, while behind the wheel.

Const. Clint Stibbe, spokesperson for Toronto police's traffic services, says about 120,000 tickets have been issued for distracted driving related offences in the city since 2010, the year that legislation prohibiting the activity took effect in Ontario. 

Distracted drivers are a 'safety risk'

Stibbe said the campaign aims to underline the dangers of distracted driving through education and enforcement. It runs until Sunday. 
Police define distracted driving as any action by a driver that takes focus away from safe operation of a vehicle. It includes, but is not limited to, the use of hand-held communication and entertainment devices.

According to 2016 collision data, a total of 70,004 crashes were reported to Toronto police that year, 7,435 of which involved at least one inattentive driver.

Of the total number of crashes, eight were fatal. Police say 2,642 crashes resulted in some injuries while 4,785 damaged property only.

"Officers will focus their attention on drivers who choose to drive while distracted," police said in a news release.

Police define distracted driving as any action by a driver that takes focus away from safe operation of a vehicle. It includes, but is not limited to, the use of hand-held communication and entertainment devices. 

"Distracted drivers are a safety risk to themselves and other road-users," the release said.