What are the dangers of distracted driving and how to avoid them?

It's very easy to get distracted while you are driving. Having your eyes on the road and paying attention to all the things happening around you takes a lot of focus and energy. There are many distractions that you can easily avoid to keep you safe on the road.

In Ontario, there is a Distracted Driving Law that you must obey in order to avoid accidents, fines and even license suspensions. Some of the common distractions while driving include:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Talking with other passengers in the car
  • Putting on makeup or grooming while looking in the rear view mirror
  • Trying to make a call on your cellphone
  • Entering information into your GPS system
The following video shows the dangers of distracted driving.

Watch this video in other languages by choosing a language below.

What is Allowed Under the Distracted Driving Law?

The only time you are allowed to use a cell phone while you are driving is if you are using it to call 9-1-1 for an emergency.

If you must use your phone or a technology device while driving, it is permitted to use hands-free equipment like:
  • A cell phone with an earpiece, headset or Bluetooth device using voice-activated dialing.
  • A GPS screen as long as it is mounted on the dashboard or windshield and you must input your destination information before you start driving.
  • A portable media player plugged into the vehicle's sound system.
  • Display screens that are built into the vehicle and used for safety reasons.

What is NOT Allowed?

Actions like dialling your phone, scrolling through contacts, texting and typing or searching through your GPS system are not allowed while driving. Even if you are stopped at a traffic light or stop sign, it is still against the law to use a hand-held device while you wait.

There is an exception in case of emergencies if you have to call to the police, fire department or emergency medical services personnel, but you must pull off the roadway and be lawfully parked to use hand-held devices.

If you are caught driving distracted you could face penalties that include:

First conviction:

  • up to $1,000 fine
  • three demerit points
  • a three-day driver’s licence suspension

Second conviction within 5 years:

  • up to $2,000 fine
  • six demerit points
  • a seven-day driver’s licence suspension

For your third and all subsequent convictions within 5 years:

  • up to $3,000 fine
  • six demerit points
  • a 30-day driver’s licence suspension
For more information on Distracted Driving Penalties in Ontario visit the Ministry of Transportation's website.

Videos Prepared by: HMC Connections in partnership with the Ministry of Transportation and the Halton Police

For More Information

  • Safe Driving Practices - Other safe driving practices you can read about from the Ministry of Transportation.
  • Halton Police – A manual on driving safety and the distracted driving.
  • HMC Connections - Watch more safety videos in different languages from the Halton Multicultural Council.
Last updated: September 27, 2018 4006338