Frequently asked questions about distracted driving laws

On behalf of: admin | Posted in: Car Accidents on: Thursday, September 17, 2015

Many of Ontario’s car accidents can be attributed to distracted drivers paying more attention to their smartphones than the road. Below are some frequently asked questions about what is permissible and against the law while driving.

— Can I use my cellphone at red lights?

No. Hand-held devices may only be used while driving during emergencies to call police, emergency medical personnel or the fire department. Drivers who need to make a call or send a text must pull off the road and park to do so. But because of the dangers associated with stopping on the side of 400-series highways, it is illegal for to pull over unless it’s an emergency.

— Do exemptions exist for the province’s laws prohibiting use of hand-held devices when driving?

The sole exception is for dialing 911 in a legitimate emergency.

— What about public transit drivers and commercial drivers?

They are able to look at display screens on mobile data terminals, as well as on dispatching or logistical tracking devices. CB radios are also presently allowed to be used with hand-held devices. Collision avoidance technologies are permitted as well.

Just this month, penalties and fines for scofflaws of the province’s distracted driving laws increased. There is good reason for this, as the consequences for driving while distracted can be deadly. Distracted drivers not only endanger their own lives and the lives of their passengers, but the lives of everyone that they encounter on the highway.

Even when a distracted driving conviction is not forthcoming, after an at-fault accident with injuries occurs, a skillful personal injury lawyer may be able to uncover evidence of cellphone use behind the wheel. If so, a settlement or judgment may be awarded to the plaintiff.

Source: Ontario Ministry of Transportation, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed Sep. 17, 2015

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