Getting caught using your phone while driving will soon cost you a lot more.
As of March 18, motorists caught using cellphones or other electronic devices while driving in the province of Ontario will face a hefty $280 fine (up from $155). This is the first time the fine amount has increased since the ban on handheld devices came into effect in October 2009.
The hike in fines is part of a provincial effort to prevent the bad behaviour, now up there with impaired driving as one of the four top killers on Ontario roads.
Transportation Minister Glen Murray said the government is looking at heftier fines to crack down on soaring rates of distracted driving, including demerit points for motorists who text, call and e-mail while they’re behind the wheel.
“Distracted driving is one of the fastest-growing causes of death. Our drinking and driving is coming down,” Murray said.
“What we are trying to do is imitate the success we have had with drinking and driving by introducing similar measures for distracted driving,” Murray added.
The increase will make Ontario’s fines for distracted driving among the highest in the country with the exception of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, where maximum fines go up to $400.
But when was the last time you heard of someone getting pulled over for talking or texting on the phone?
Make the fine a million dollars and it still won’t make a difference if people don’t believe they’ll ever get caught.
Perhaps it might be a better idea to lock up the radar guns for a little while and start actually enforcing the law.