With March Break just around the corner, the Ontario Provincial Police is poised to enforce new ‘Distracted Driving’ penalties that took effect on January 1st, 2019 as part of its upcoming Distracted Driving Campaign.

The new penalties include a fine increase up to $1,000, three demerit points and a three-day licence suspension.

The penalties also increase with subsequent offences.

For novice drivers in the graduated licencing system, there is no fine or additional demerit points but longer licence suspensions.

Across Ontario, 55 people and more than 9,115 collisions were linked to an inattentive driver on OPP-patrolled roads in 2018.

The OPP laid 13,529 Distracted Driving charges last year against drivers who chose to make roads unsafe by dividing their attention between driving and using a hand-held electronic device.

“Among the most dangerous drivers are those who continue to ignore the facts and convince themselves that using a cell phone while driving is not dangerous and forms part of today’s driving culture. Never let a driver use this, or any other justification for using a hand-held device while driving. It is as dangerous a driving behaviour today as it was when Ontario’s Distracted Driving laws came into force ten years ago” says Interim OPP Commissioner Gary Couture.

The Distracted Driving Campaign will run between March 11th and 17th.