Distracted driving crackdown kicks off in Ontario
A man looks at his phone as he drives through traffic in Dallas, on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. (AP / LM Otero)
Provincial police are cracking down on distracted drivers over March Break.
Ontario introduced a ban on using handheld devices behind the wheel in 2009, but according to the OPP, motorists aren’t getting the message.
Last year, 78 people died in distracted driving-related crashes in this province alone, surpassing both impaired and speed-related collisions.
“When you consider the overall impact of these 78 fatalities last year and the 325 other distracted driving victims who have died since 2010, the number of people these irresponsible drivers have had a profound and devastating impact on is in the thousands,” OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair says in a release.
That’s why, on Saturday, provincial police launched a week-long blitz aimed at raising awareness about the persistent issue.
The campaign ends Friday, but OPP Chief Superintendent Don Bell is urging drivers to put away their phones year-round.
“Even though our campaign only runs one week, make this a year-round commitment because it is a fail proof way to help us eliminate the tragic deaths that occur every year because of distracted drivers,” he says in a release.
On March 18, the fine for distracted driving will increase from $155 to $280.