ORILLIA, ON, Feb. 14, 2012 /CNW/ - After a busy week of spreading the word to Ontarians about the dangers of distracted driving, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is warning motorists that its Distracted Driving campaign is in full swing and that it will now focus on stringent enforcement of distracted driving laws on Ontario roads.
"Since last May (2011), we've carried out three of our four one-week 'Phone In One Hand, Ticket In The Other' distracted driving campaigns and because this dangerous driving behaviour has become a widespread issue among all of our policing partners, in North America and beyond, everyone should be familiar with the dangers," says Chief Superintendent Don Bell, Commander of the OPP Highway Safety Division. "The lack of compliance we continue to see on our roads today is nothing more than a blatant disregard for the law and a personal choice to continue making distracted driving a dangerous, life-threatening habit rather than a case of a misinformed motoring public," added Bell.
Throughout the week, from February 13-19, 2012, the OPP will be targeting all forms of distraction that pose a risk to human life and they are warning drivers that they've heard every imaginable excuse and apology from those caught not paying attention while driving.
"Our officers have already dealt with the victims and families linked to eight distracted driving related fatalities on OPP-patrolled roads so far this year (as of February 12, 2012)," said Deputy Commissioner Larry Beechey, Provincial Commander, OPP Traffic Safety and Operational Support. "It's alarming to see that these eight deaths represent a more than 165 per cent spike in distracted driving fatalities compared to this same time period last year. This needs to be a wake up call to all drivers that no text, no phone call, no distraction behind the wheel is worth a human life," added Beechey.
Using a cell phone or device capable of texting while driving can result in a fine of $155 under Section 78.1 of the HTA. Watching an entertainment device can result in a fine of $110 under Section 78 of the HTA. Other forms of distracted driving can result in a charge of Careless Driving with fines ranging from $400 to $2,000, a possible licence suspension of up to two years and/or a jail term of not more than six months, depending on the circumstances.
The OPP is reminding motorists that it will continue to target this high-risk behaviour on Ontario roads throughout the year, around the clock as part of its award-winning Provincial Traffic Safety Program (PTSP), in its ongoing efforts to improve highway safety and save lives.
For further information:
Contacts by OPP Region:
Highway Safety Division: Sergeant Dave Woodford Phone: (416) 553-5471
Central Region: Constable Peter Leon Phone: (705) 329-7414
Eastern Region: Sergeant Kristine Rae Phone: (613) 284-4557
Northeast Region: Ms. Patty Gysel Phone: (705) 475-2655
Northwest Region: Sergeant Shelley Garr Phone: (807) 473-2734
Western Region: Sergeant Dave Rektor Phone: (519) 652-4156