Distracted Drivers Not Getting The Message

(Chatham-Kent, ON.)  The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to remind motorists that the time to hang up the cell phone or to stop “texting” while driving is now.  Since February of this year, OPP officers have issued 2,279 Distracted Driving Charges.   

In Western Region alone, the OPP has issued 387 Distracted Driving Charges to motorists who continue to use electronic devices while driving. 

Chatham-Kent OPP Acting Detachment Commander Scott Braun says “driving takes 100 percent of a person’s attention, 100 percent of the time.”  

OPP remind all motorists that since February 2010 it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle while talking on the phone or “texting”.   Doing so substantially increases your chances, of being involved in a collision. 

Motorists caught using electronic communications devices, “texting” or talking while driving, can be fined by police to the tune of $155.00. 

Drivers cannot use: 

  • Hand held communications devices (cell phones, blackberries).
  • Hand-held entertainment devices (ipods, game boys).
  • Text, dial / email.
  • View screens, unrelated to driving (laptops, portable DVD players).
  • Improper use of GPS devices. 

What is allowed? 

  • Hands-free use of communications devices (Bluetooth, voice activation, etc).
  • Hand-held if you pull off the roadway to a safe location and park. 

Exemptions: 

  • Emergency calls to 911.
  • Use by emergency personnel.
  • Hands-free use of properly mounted GPS devices.
  • Viewing some display screens related to vehicle operation.
  • Hand-held use when off road and parked. 

Despite the awareness of the new laws, there still remain a number of motorists who continue to chat on the phone or “text” while driving.  If observed, police will enforce and educate in our attempt to make our highways safer for everyone.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata is the owner and publisher of Square Media Group. He covers politics, the police beat, community events, the arts, sports, and everything in between. His imagery and freelance contributions have appeared in select publications and for organizations in Canada and the United States. Contact Ian with story ideas.
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