Ottawa

OPP to target drivers who text, chat

This week the Ontario Provincial Police plan to target drivers who text and chat while they're at the wheel.

This week the Ontario Provincial Police plan to target drivers who text and chat while they're at the wheel. 

Last year, the OPP charged more than 8,000 drivers for using hand-held devices while driving.

"We know [distracted driving] is seriously under-reported in our statistics and is a major cause of collisions in Ontario," said OPP Chief Supt. Bill Grodzinski.

Const. T.J. Jellinek is with Ottawa's Police Service and he's applauding the OPP crackdown.

"As soon as you're talking on the phone and texting and things like that statistics have shown that you're twice as likely to be involved in a serious motor vehicle accident," said Jellinek. "When you're driving you have to realize that your focus is on driving, not on the phone not on texting not on sending messages. You have to really focus on what you're doing there's so many variables on the roadway."

Drivers face $150 fine

The fine for driving while using a hand-held device is $150. The week of May 16 to May 22 will be the first of four OPP one-week enforcement campaigns focusing on distracted driving over the next 12 months.

Distracted driving is defined as engaging in any secondary activity that takes a driver's attention away from driving and can include adjusting the radio, searching for something in the car, eating while driving, watching an entertainment monitor or using a hand-held communications device or other entertainment device.

The OPP has added distracted driving to its list of "big four" causal factors for death and injuries on Ontario highways. The other three are: aggressive driving, failure to use restraint devices and driving while impaired.

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