Canadians say texting while driving should be a criminal offense

Distracted driving fatalities are increasing

A new survey finds that 84% of Canadians think texting while driving should be a criminal offence, but we are more polarized on other distracted driving habits.

This does not come as a surprise considering distracted driving fatalities in Ontario surpassed both impaired driving-related and speed-related fatalities last year, according to the Ontario Provincial Police who are about to finish a distracted driving campaign ending later today.

Distracted driving is not currently a criminal offence in Canada, but penalties are beginning to become more stringent. If a driver is caught using a handheld device such as a mobile phone a driver can be fined. In Ontario, those fines are set to double as of March 18 to $280. Depending on the nature of the offence, a driver could also potentially be charged with careless driving, which may result in steeper fines, license suspensions, and possibly jail time.

In all cases, these implications affect insurance rates.

Read: 10 tips to reduce driving distractions

“There are many habits that most drivers are guilty of that could have severe consequences,” says Sean Graham in a press release, principal broker at KANETIX.ca. “For example, texting at a red light can result in a ticket fine of $280, plus an insurance premium increase, which is typically an average increase of $75 per year in Ontario. And this conviction stays on a person’s record for three years. Not to mention the possibility of an accident because you are no longer paying attention to the road.”

Although the fine increase only applies to hand held devices, phones are not the only concern when it comes to distracted driving. Distracted driving encompasses anything that takes a drivers focus off the road-from changing a song on an iPod, to putting on lipstick, to paying attention to a crying baby in the back seat.

Read: Texting and driving as dangerous as drinking and driving: ICBC survey

While Canadians agreed that texting while driving should be a definite criminal offence, the survey found that Canadians have differing ideas on what other kinds of distractions should be considered criminal offenses. 76% of those surveyed thought putting on makeup while driving should also be a criminal offense, and while 58% think that distracted driving should be a criminal offence in general, only 33% of Canadians were convinced of the dangers of eating while driving, for example.

Canadians Weigh In On Distracted Driving as a Criminal Offence


Follow us on Twitter at @CITopBroker for more of the latest news

Copyright © 2017 Transcontinental Media G.P.
Transcontinental Media G.P.