Earlier this year we applauded the news out of Queen’s Park when the Making Ontario Roads Safer Act, received unanimous consent, and all parties came together to agree that harsher penalties that came into effect this week.
No one is perfect, and many of us have at some point checked a cellphone, proceeded through a crosswalk or grabbed something to eat while driving. But that doesn’t make it right, and nothing makes it safe.
Fines for distracted driving now are up to $1,000 and three demerit points, plus a 30-day suspension if you are a novice driver instead of up to $500 and no points. These changes hopefully lead to more enforcement beyond this week’s blitz, which had police busy within minutes of its start- and more importantly - more compliance from motorists.
The sad and disturbing truth is that distracted driving now accounts for more deaths on Ontario roads than impaired driving or speeding. Texting while driving makes you 20 times more likely to be involved in an accident.
The danger of distracted driving is all to real, and we are finally seeing real consequences for this, which we applaud wholeheartedly. Driving requires 100 per cent attention, and the sooner we, as a culture, adapt to that line of thinking, the better we will all be.
Times change, not all that long ago you didn’t have to wear a seatbelt, or wear a helmet if you rode a motorcycle. But now, no one in their right mind - we hope- would think about doing either.
It will take time, but hopefully we can get to that point with distracted driving too.