Starting next Tuesday, drivers in Ontario face stiff new penalties for distracted driving:
As part of the new Bill 31, which was introduced by the Liberal government and will come into effect Sept. 1, drivers can be fined $1,000 (up from $280) and receive three demerit points should they be caught by police.
It’s intended to be so restrictive that motorists put down their phones and end what Staff Sgt. Mitchell called a distracted driving “epidemic” on our roads…
Transportation Minister and Vaughan MPP Steven Del Duca congratulated lawmakers on passing the bill unanimously and said it was about time we recognized the risks inherent to distracted driving.
He added he has two daughters, one eight and one four and he hopes they will be safer as a result.
Del Duca further noted the rules are justified considering distracted driving is now as big a problem in this province as impaired driving.
Del Duca is, if anything, understating the case. Statistics from 2013 showed that there were actually more fatalities from distracted driving than from drunk driving in this province. Multiple studies have shown that the average driver’s reaction time when using a cell phone is significantly slower than if they are drunk or high. (Also, for those who like their evidence anecdotal, Mythbusters “confirmed” it by getting drunk and driving around.)
So clearly, the government has an interest in deterring people from distracted driving. That interest is well backed up by thoroughly documented evidence from multiple reliable sources, including the government’s own statistics. This is a clear example of evidence-based policy-making.
It’s also a policy that will make cops across the province a lot of money. Continue Reading