This new legislation will include fines between $2,000 and $50,000 up to two years of jail time, license suspension of up to five years and six demerit points for careless drivers who cause death or serious injuries.
This is especially important for young drivers who are still learning the rules of the road and are still making rookie mistakes behind the wheel. The Government of Ontario reports novice drivers will not receive any demerit points but instead will face even stiffer penalties for distracted driving such as:
- 30-day license suspension for a first conviction.
- 90-day license suspension for a second conviction.
- Cancellation of your license and removal from the Graduated Licensing System (GLS) for a third conviction. The driver will have to go back to the beginning of the GLS program.
Distracted Driver Accidents.com reported these shocking facts about young drivers and texting and driving:
- Every day, 11 teenagers die because they were texting while driving.
- 94% of teenagers understand the consequences of texting and driving, but 35% of them admitted that they do it anyway.
- Of all the teenagers ever involved in fatal accidents every year, 21 % were using a cell phone at the time of the accident.
- Teen drivers have a 400% higher chance of being in a car crash when texting while driving than adults.
- 25% of teens respond to at least one text while driving, every single time.
- 10% of adults 20% of teenagers have admitted that they have entire conversations over text message platforms while driving.
- When polled, 77% of adults and 55% of teenage drivers say that they can easily manage texting while driving.
- When teens text while they drive, they veer off the lane 10% of their total drive time.
- 48% of kids in their younger teenage years have been in a car while the driver was texting. Over 1600 children in the same age group are killed each year because of crashes involving texters
Put away the smartphone
Most of the statistics previously listed are mobile related, and teenagers are the ones who use their smartphones the most. They use it to not only text but to take selfies and post on social media as well. Their daily routine revolves around smartphones.
Using a smartphone while driving has been linked to more vehicle crashes and death than impaired driving. Even receiving a text message can be extremely distracting. Taking your hands and eyes of the steering wheel increases the risk of a collision.
To limit the risk, when driving put your smartphone out of sight and set the sound as silent or on a very low volume. Check any voicemails or text messages before or after the drive.
Young passengers can be as equally distracting to drivers. When teenagers are driving in the car with their friends, they still want to be included in the passenger conversations and social media excitement. The Huffington Post reported from a study that 16-17-year-olds increase risk of a fatal crash by 44% with one teen passenger, double it with two and quadruple it with three.
This is one of the reasons why the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario has a restricted passenger rule for G2 drivers, aged 19 and under. In the first six months of their license, only one passenger aged 19 and under are allowed.
Young drivers can also talk with their passenger friends beforehand and let them know when they are being too rowdy. Peers tend to listen to peers and if they are a close friend, they should respect your driving rules.
To help avoid these distractions, here are some tips on how young drivers can conqueror distracted driving:
Know your Route
Figuring out where you are going while you’re already on the road is not ideal. Study the route beforehand or pre-set your GPS with the destination address. If travelling with a passenger, have one of them navigate the way.
Check voicemails and messages before leaving
Prior to heading to the car check and respond to any important voicemails or text messages. If you find your smartphone to be distracting, keep it out of sight in a purse, glove compartment or even the trunk of your car.
Prepare a playlist
Teenagers love hearing their favourite songs. Though, changing the radio station often can be incredibly distracting. In most cars, you can pre-set the radio stations to the ones you listen to the most or set your iPod or iPhone to your preferred playlists ahead of time.
Distracted driving is extremely dangerous and with the new Ontario distracted driving penalties in full effect; it’s crucial to drive safe and distraction free. Distracted driving offences may also raise your car insurance premium. When young drivers take notice of their driving habits, they make the roads safer for everyone.