The Cobourg Police Service focused on distracted driving enforcement as part of the Selective Traffic Enforcement Project (S.T.E.P.) for the month of November. Uniform officers, with the assistance of special constables and auxiliary officers, conducted enforcement.
As a result, eight (8) charges were laid in relation to distracted driving under the Highway Traffic Act (H.T.A.).
The offences, contrary to the H.T.A., are the following sections:
78 Drive – display screen visible to driver
Driving a motor vehicle on a highway with the display screen of a television, computer or other device in motor vehicle visible to the driver.
78.1(1) Drive – Hand-held communication device & 78.1(2) Drive – Hand-held entertainment device Driving a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device or hand-held electronic entertainment device.
Fines for distracted driving start at $615.00 with a maximum of $3000.00, up to six demerit points and a driver’s licence suspension of three days upon first conviction, seven days upon a second conviction and 30 days for a third and subsequent convictions.
Driving requires your full attention. The Cobourg Police Service encourages community members to pay attention at all times while driving, including when you are stopped in traffic or at a red light.
Here are some tips to help avoid distracted driving:
- Plan your route ahead of time. Before you get in the car, know where you’re going and how you’re getting there. If you use a G.P.S. system, program your route before starting the vehicle.
- Put your cellphone away. Keep your cellphone out of your reach. Reduce the temptation to use it by keeping it out of sight and turn the ringer off.
- Avoid eating and drinking while driving. If you need to take a drink, wait until you are stopped at a red light.
- Keep your music or radio at a reasonable volume. Music should never be so loud that you would not be able to hear a siren or the screech of brakes from another vehicle. Set your music or radio ahead of time.
- Secure objects in the vehicle. Place any items like purses, backpacks and coats in the trunk or safely tucked behind the seat on the ground so they will not go flying if you have to brake in an emergency. Don’t reach for items while driving.