Distracted driving can mean whatever takes your eyes off the road, like eating, applying makeup, reading printed materials or if you’re Mr. Bean - trying to brush your teeth or change clothes. When you’re distracted, you forget there are motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, school zones, and traffic signs all around you. It’s almost like you’re driving only half the time and each province has different consequences.
In Ontario, first, second and third time penalties can range from $1,000 fine and 3 demerit points, to a 30-day suspension of your license. In Alberta, citizens now receive similar penalties but there are calls for higher fines.
The bottom line is that distracted driving can have serious implications. It is an especially big deal for new drivers who are trying to build a good driving reputation.
COLLISIONS IN CANADA
Police in Ottawa are saying distracted driving is passing impaired driving for collisions and injuries. Because of this, penalties are being used to reduce the number of collisions and deaths in Canada. It’s important to know them so your teen is safe and your entire family knows the implications of driving distracted.
The insurance industry doesn’t take distracted driving lightly either. Just one ticket can increase your premiums by up to 30% and a second conviction of distracted driving can cost 40-80% of your premiums. Some insurance companies can also double your monthly premium costs (i.e. a $500 monthly premium can turn into $1,000 per month).
If you get too many of these citations, new drivers will have to get insurance from the Facility Association of Alberta with other high-risk drivers.
What’s even more grave is that distracted driving penalties can lead not only to suspended licenses, but criminal charges. Anyone (whether a new or established driver) involved in a collision where someone is seriously injured or killed, can be charged for criminal behaviour on the road by the police.
The RCMP outlines what distracted driving does to you:
- Reduced reaction time
- Impaired judgment
- Possibly falling asleep behind the wheel
- Injuring or killing yourself, your passengers and/or other people
We care that none of these happen to you and that you can avoid the charges.
HOW CAN YOU STOP DISTRACTED DRIVING?
There are enough hazards on the road as it is, and both the police and insurers take it seriously.
We can both agree that it’s important to:
- Plan Your Route: Use GPS to make sure you know where you’re going
- Put Your Cell Phone Away: Cell phones are one of the most common reasons for accidents (more so now than alcohol), so put it away!
- Other Distractions - Music, food, drink, and friends in the car can all contribute to distracted driving too, so turn the music down and set some behavioural standards for whenever you’ve got your hands on the wheel!
- Improve Your Reaction Time - We even wrote an article about this very thing so you can be quick on the road!
When you and your teen are on the road, remember the consequences and strategies to avoid distracted driving - maybe even place a few of the bullets above as a sticky note to read every time you or your teen get in the car. This will help build the habit of remembering the penalties involved with distracted driving.
If you need more help improving habits on the road for your teen, you should also try Carrot’s technology that tracks driving behaviour so you both know what to talk about.
HOW DO I GET CARROT?
Carrot is as easy to use as 123:
- Enroll with InsureMy (plus get a 10% discount)
- Connect your vehicle to the Drive With Carrot App
a. (Download it on iTunes or Google )
- Buckle up and start getting cash rewards for driving smart!
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