If you don’t think the rules apply to you, the OPP will be on the lookout for you starting on Monday May 16th!
In one of its largest campaigns yet, the Ontario Provincial Police will focus patrols on drivers who chat on cellphones or text while behind the wheel. The blitz runs from May 16 to May 22. Another three crackdowns will take place over the next 12 months.
And while yakking on a phone while driving can be dangerous, munching on a sandwich or fiddling with the radio dial can also be risky, said OPP Sgt. David Woodford.
“If you’re not focusing on your driving and you’re doing something else — whether it be putting makeup on, which we’ve seen, or eating or drinking that coffee or changing the radio station… it can change that quickly in front of you that you cannot react properly and next thing you know, we have a rear-end collision,” he said.
Woodford recounted an incident Thursday morning in which a motorist was pulled over after he was spotted pounding the steering wheel with a pair of drumsticks. The driver was charged with careless driving.
Distracted driving can be any activity which takes a motorist’s attention away from the road. This includes anything outside of the vehicle that attracts your eye — such as attractions at Canada’s Wonderland theme park in Vaughan.
“Especially this time of year, you’re watching and focusing on that Drop Zone, waiting to see it drop,” Sgt. Woodford said.
But if that preoccupation with outside distractions causes drivers to weave between lanes or collide with another vehicle, they could be charged with careless driving as well.
A careless driving charge can result in fines ranging from $400 to $2,000, licence suspension of up to two years, and up to a six-month jail term.
Under the Highway Traffic Act, texting or chatting on a cellphone while driving can result in a $155 fine.
In 2010, distracted driving led to 35 deaths on OPP-patrolled roads.
Be safe out there! Don’t become a statistic!