Reasonable for roadside suspensions to be issued to distracted drivers

Published: March 27, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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As the levels of distracted driving continue to rise, authorities are issuing harsher penalties to no avail. However, on minister believes issuing roadside suspensions to drivers could help and "might be reasonable" punishment.

Speaking to Canadian Underwriter, Arthur Potts, parliamentary assistant to Ontario transportation minister Kathryn McGArry said Ontario already has strong rules in place but drivers continue to break the law and use mobile devices behind the wheel. Increasing punishments may be a solution.

Potts suggests expanding punishments to include roadside suspensions may be viable. Under current laws, Ontario does not allow drivers to use a mobile device while operating a vehicle, while looking at a non-driving-related screen is also prohibited. The maximum fine for the offense in the province is $1,000.

Despite clamping down with harsher penalties, the government continues to lose the distracted driving battle. Motorists seem willing to bend the rules and risk the punishment and simply do not find distracted driving taboo in the way they might impaired driving.

Ontario is now pushing through Bill 174, featuring amendments to the Highway Traffic Act focused on distracted driving, for example, the maximum fine for. Second offense will increase to $2,000 and a third offense fine will be $3,000. First time offenders will still get a $1,000 fine, but will also face a three-day license suspension. A seven-day suspension will be in place for second offenses and a 30-day suspension for third timers.

Taking drivers' vehicles away from them may be the answer and Potts clearly envisions a scenario where suspensions may one day be issued by police on the spot.