Britain to double mobile phone fines

Britain's new government is following up tough talk on electronic distracted driving with a doubling of penalties for handheld mobile phone use. The new punishments, still being finalized, will be be at least £200 and 6 points vs. the driver's license, officials says. They will take effect in the first half of next year, the Department for Transport said. The moves are spearheaded by new Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, left, who was appointed by Prime Minister Theresa May. Distracted drivers "could kill and cause untold misery to others," Grayling said in a statement Sept. 17. "I … [Read more...]

Quebec: Distracted driving news

Quebec's new transportation minister wants the federal government to consider criminalizing electronic distracted driving. Laurent Lessard said he would ask Canadian minister Marc Garneau to study the issue to see "what elements of criminalization would be involved." Lessard's comments to reporters came Aug. 23, shortly after a Quebec coroner, Michel Ferland, called for making cell phone use by drivers a crime in cases of death or serious injury. Lessard has just succeeded Jacques Daoust as transport chief. Transportation minister Lessard also said he was looking into toughening the … [Read more...]

Siri a winner in Nova Scotia courts

Canadian provinces continue to struggle with the specifics of their distracted driving laws. In the latest case, in Nova Scotia, the Supreme Court sided with a motorist who was ticketed for using the Siri feature on an iPhone to ask for directions. The high court ruled in late October 2015 that employing the voice-activated navigational system did not constitute "use" of the cell phone, which would be illegal. Justice Jamie Campbell said the related wording in the Nova Scotia's Motor Vehicle Act was so simple as to be unclear and behind the times. He said other provinces were more … [Read more...]

Saskatchewan deaths down after impounds

Saskatchewan has seen distracted driving crashes and fatalities fall in the wake of a year-old law that allows for seizure of serial offenders' vehicles. Preliminary numbers for 2014 show "quite a significant decrease" from 2012 and 2013. In 2014, there were 26 fatalities and about 600 injuries linked to distractions, according to Saskatchewan Government Insurance. They resulted from about 3,300 collisions. In 2012, distracted/non-attentive drivers were linked to about 7,500 crashes with 69 deaths and more than 2,500 injuries. In 2010, Saskatchewan set a $280 fine for handheld cell … [Read more...]

Ontario distracted driving fine near $500

Fines for Ontario drivers who plead guilty to distracted driving now begin at $490, with three demerit points. Technically, the distracted driving fines that can be imposed by a judge range from $300 to $1,000 under a law that took effect Sept. 1. The set $490 fine is for drivers who plead guilty. (It includes victim fine surcharges and court fees.) Those who are convicted also receive the points vs. the driver's license. Most distracted drivers in Ontario will receive that punishment. The update to the Highway Traffic Act -- approved by lawmakers June 2 -- is the work of transportation … [Read more...]