According to the OPP, distracted driving is a factor in 30-50 per cent of collisions in Ontario. It can result in fines ranging from $155 to $2,000 and could result in license suspensions or even jail time.
In 2009, Ontario officially banned the use of hand-held devices while driving, and five years later, people are still committing the offence on a regular basis.
People today have become so dependent on their mobile devices that they just can’t put them down. Unfortunately, the act of texting requires individuals to divert their attention from activities that require no distractions, such as driving, and this is dangerous not to mention illegal.
The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) reported that Canadians send more than 270 million text messages per day, and more that 75 per cent of Canadians have access to a mobile device. Taking these statistics into consideration, it is easy to see how much of an impact these devices are having on individuals. Just as one would become accustom to smoking cigarettes, people are similarly hooked on their cellphones.
Increasing fines and creating distracted driving campaigns will assist in lowering the rate of distracted drivers, but will never demolish the act completely. Similar to other addictive habits, many people will remain unable of putting down their phone.
On the bright side, phone manufacturers are creating many different features for smartphones that promote hands-free use and will aid in the decrease of distracted driving. Bluetooth phone call features that allow hands-free phone calls, and voice commands and texting options are allowing drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
The best way to combat distracted driving is to find ways to safely use our mobile devices. But, for those who can resist, putting the phones away while behind the wheel will remain the safest way to travel.