Nearly as deadly as driving drunk, texting while driving presents a substantial risk for drivers on Ontario roadways. Statistics reveal that since 2009, distracted driving has resulted in twice as many accidents as intoxicated driving. So, while it might be tempting to respond to a text that you receive while driving, this type of driving behavior has the potential to result in devastating accidents, the ramifications of which will last the rest of your life.
The following will provide an overview of the substantial dangers presented by distracted driving in Ottawa.
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Statistics About Texting While Driving
There are some alarming statistics about the rate at which texting while driving accidents occur. For example, text messaging makes an accident 23 times more likely to occur, and approximately 34% of motor vehicle operators admit to texting while driving.
Given the great dangers presented by texting while driving as well as its frequency, it is critical that all drivers on Ontario’s roads be aware of this risk.
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Common Myths About Texting While Driving
There are a number of common myths about texting while driving, which include the following:
- It is not against the law to text if you are stopped at a red light or stop sign. Many motor vehicle drivers in Ontario believe that if they are stopped in their vehicle, it is okay to text while behind the wheel. This is incorrect. Rather, Ontario law prohibits motor vehicle operators from texting while driving at all times, even if the vehicle is stopped. The only way that a driver can text while driving is if the vehicle is safely pulled over to the side of the road.
- Talking on a cell phone while driving is much less dangerous. Motor vehicle operators who talk on the phone while driving are just as likely as people who text while driving in becoming involved in a deadly accident. One recent study by the Canadian Automobile Association found that having in-depth conversations while driving is dangerous because a driver is much less focused on his or her surroundings.
- More teens text while driving than adults. In reality, statistics show that adult drivers are just as likely as teenage drivers to end up in serious accidents due to distracted driving behavior. In some situations, adults even text more than teenage drivers.
Ontario Texting While Driving Laws
In the province of Ontario, it is against the law to use your phone while operating a motor vehicle. The province prohibits the use of any type of handheld device while driving. The only exception to this prohibition is that a person is permitted to use a Bluetooth device or GPS while operating a vehicle.
Texting and Driving Fines in Ontario
Drivers who are determined to be texting while driving in Ontario but who do not cause someone else to become injured can end up facing approximately $1,000 in fines as well as three points on their driver’s licenses. Individuals with G1 or G2 licenses will face a license suspension and cancellation instead of three points.
If anyone is injured or harmed as a result of driving, a motorist will end up facing a charge of reckless driving as well as one of several penalties including up to six months of jail time, a fine between $400 to $2,000, or license suspension of up to two years.
For serious injuries that result from a distracted driving accident, a motorist can face up to 10 years in prison. If a person is killed as a result of texting and driving, a motorist can end up facing up to 14 years in prison.
New Ontario Texting While Driving Laws for 2019
In 2019, Ontario expanded its distracted driving law. The new regulation increased the fines for people who text while driving to $1,000. The motivation behind these stricter laws was to increase the safety of everyone on the road and to allow Ontario to address unsafe driving patterns.
Under the new regulations, drivers with more than one distracted driving conviction face a fine of up to $2,000, a seven-day license suspension, and six points added to their licenses. The fines are even more severe for drivers who have more than two distracted driving charges.
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The Results of Ontario Texting While Driving Accidents
Accidents involving drivers who text while operating a vehicle are often very serious because the driver is often not focusing on the road and the accident is over before the driver can do anything to minimize the severity of the crash.
Additionally, studies have found that a texting driver’s ability to respond is as impaired as an intoxicated driver’s. Consequently, when drivers text while driving, it is not uncommon for injuries like broken bones, internal organ damage, other serious injuries, and even fatalities to occur.
Compensation for People injured in Texting While Driving Accidents
The specific amount that the victims of texting while driving accidents can receive depends on the specific details of the case.
If compensation can be obtained, it can make up for things like lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering caused by these accidents. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you pursue compensation.
Tips on Avoiding Texting While Driving Accidents
Even if a driver understands the dangers presented by texting while operating a vehicle, it can be difficult to refrain from using a cell phone in this risky way.
Some of the steps that you should remember to take to reduce the risk of distracted driving accidents include:
- Turning your cell phone to silent or quiet mode
- Shutting your phone off completely while driving
- Putting your cell phone in a place where you cannot reach it
- Downloading an app that prohibits you from texting while your vehicle is moving
Speak with an Experienced Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one is impacted by another person’s decision to drive while texting, remember that you have the right to pursue compensation.
Contact Preszler Law today to schedule an initial free case evaluation. There is no obligation, and we do not charge a fee unless we are successful in obtaining results for you.