Personal Injury Lawyers 
Toronto, ON

Distracted Driving Remains a Key Concern Despite Awareness Efforts

Man texting while driving, evening city traffic backdrop. Concept of risks and accidents due to attention loss while driving a car.

Almost 60 percent of Ontario motorists use cell phones while driving.

Distracted driving is a consistent problem on roads despite laws that have been put in place to ban it. Attentive driving laws have been in place across Canada since 2008 and have been updated over the years to increase penalties. Still, in Ontario, distracted driving deaths have doubled since 2000.

People know taking their eyes off the road is hazardous, but many do it anyway. About 58 percent of Ontario drivers say they use mobile devices while driving, according to a recent CAA survey. Incidents of distracted driving over the last five months include an enforcement blitz in Simcoe County that caught 10 inattentive drivers in just 3 hours and an incident in which a distracted driver disrupted a plane landing at Pearson by driving onto an active runway.

To prevent distracted driving accidents, it's important to raise awareness about the law and statistics that highlight risks. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and a good time to share information Ontario drivers can use.

Distracted driving laws in Ontario

Ontario's distracted driving laws are among the most strict in North America. They primarily target hand-held devices for communication and entertainment. While driving in Ontario - including when stopped at a red light - it is illegal to:

  • Use a phone or other hand-held wireless communication device for texting or dialing, except for emergency calls to 911. Even having the cell phone in hand but not in use could be a violation.
  • Use hand-held electronic entertainment devices like tablets or portable gaming consoles.
  • View display screens unrelated to driving, such as watching videos.
  • You cannot program a GPS device except through voice commands. You can view GPS display screens if they are integrated into the vehicle's dashboard or securely mounted on it.

It's worth noting that using a hands-free wireless communication device with an earpiece, lapel button, or Bluetooth is permitted. Actions such as eating, drinking, self-grooming, smoking, reading, or reaching for objects are not explicitly part of Ontario's distracted driving law. Nonetheless, engaging in these activities while driving is dangerous.

Key distracted driving statistics

Despite the law and increased enforcement, inattentive driving remains a problem on Ontario's roads. In 2022, the year with the most recent data available, 97 fatalities were attributed to inattentive driving collisions, accounting for over 16 percent of all traffic fatalities that year. These early statistics underscore the severity of the problem. Other data of note in the Ministry of Transportation's preliminary annual road safety report and CAA analysis include:

  • In Ontario, one person is injured in a distracted driving accident every half an hour.
  • About 40 percent of drivers said they often see other drivers with cell phones in their hands, according to a CAA survey.
  • About 39 percent of drivers consider themselves distracted drivers.
  • A driver using a phone is four times more likely to crash than a driver focusing on the road.

Distracted driving frequently leads to severe car, truck, and motorcycle accidents, resulting in significant injuries and even fatalities. Crash victims in Ontario can seek compensation for their damages by consulting with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer who can advocate for their rights and pursue a fair settlement or verdict on their behalf.

Holding negligent drivers accountable in the GTA

If you or a loved one has been injured in a distracted driving accident in Ontario, don't hesitate to reach out to our experienced legal team for guidance and support. At Smitiuch Injury Law, our lawyers are committed to helping accident victims navigate the legal process and obtain the compensation they deserve for their injuries, medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. Your recovery and well-being are our top priorities, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the justice and financial relief you are entitled to under the law.

Serving the Greater Toronto Area since 2001, we're known for our commitment to getting the outcomes our clients deserve. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today for a free consultation. We have offices in Toronto, Brantford, and Simcoe.

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