Distracted driving figures increase in Toronto during the first quarter

Published: April 28, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Toronto police are continuing to battle distracted driving, but admit it is a battle that is currently being lost. Despite launching several campaigns to combat distracted driving over the last year, the city says distracted driving figures for the first quarter of 2017.

In its latest quarterly traffic services report, Toronto police show the officers issued 1,840 tickets for distracted driving between January and March. This represented a significant climb from 1,345 last year, or a 37 percent hike.

“When you are driving a motor vehicle, you essentially have control of a two- to three-thousand-pound missile” Const. Clint Stibbe from Toronto Traffic Services told AM 640. “If you don’t have control over that at all times, the devastation can be tremendous.”

He adds that numbers have been increasing for several years. Indeed, Toronto only experienced a brief decline in numbers when it first introduced its 2009 distracted-driving legislation.

“We had an annual low of around 12,000 tickets a couple of years ago, and even last year, it was at the 15,000 mark,” said Stibbe. “The recent numbers are disturbing in the sense that we’re on track for more in 2017, and it’s not due to any new legislation that drivers need to re-familiarize themselves with.”

Distracted driving in Toronto carries a fine of $495 and three demerit points, while beginner drivers can be suspended for 30 days and 60 days for a second offence. There is still a call from numerous groups for penalties to be harsher, including instant driver bans. Motorists will currently have their license revoked if they are convicted of distracted driving three times.