Ontario plan: $1,000 plus points

Transportation minister Glen Murray of Ontario

The Ontario government followed through with plans to crack down on distracted drivers, proposing maximum fines of $1,000 and three points vs. offenders' licenses. Transportation Minister Glen Murray, left, introduced the "Keeping Ontario's Roads Safe Act" on March 17. The increased penalties for handheld cell phone use and texting had been sought by safety advocates and law enforcement: "Everyone's been saying you've got to put (distracted driving) in the same range as drinking and driving," the minister said. The distracted driving changes were anticipated, and followed action by the … [Read more...]

Manitoba: Distracted driving news

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Winnipeg's police chief is calling for stricter distracted driving punishments in the wake of a November crackdown that yielded 50 citations a day. Chief Devon Clunis told the Winnipeg Sun those "epidemic proportions" of violations spotlight the need to increase penalties, even with the addition of two demerits, which became effective Aug. 1. "Maybe we'll get to the point that we say, 'If you're doing this, we're going to take your car,'" he told the Sun. "Why not?" Police chiefs across Canada have been pushing for higher penalties. The Winnipeg Police Service wrote about about 1,700 … [Read more...]

Australia, New Zealand distracted driving news

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West Australian distracted drivers won't be cheering news that they'll face double demerit points during holiday seasons. Road Safety Minister Liza Harvey confirmed the plan in early April. Drivers convicted of using handheld cell phones will receive 6 points vs. their licenses. The fine of $250 remains the same. The change goes into effect for Easter. "(People) are totally fed up with seeing the crashes and seeing the distraction of drivers with mobile phones," Harvey said April 3. West Australian police used unmarked motorcycles and helmet-cams to bust 1379 drivers for use of wireless … [Read more...]

Alberta DD law now in effect

Alberta took its time installing a distracted driving law -- it's the eighth Canadian province to do so -- but the new rules clearly are among the most comprehensive in North America. The new Alberta distracted driving law went into effect next Thursday, Sept. 1. The fine is $172 (total). (This post updated Sept. 1) In addition to banning text messaging, emailing and the use of handheld cell phones for drivers, the law prohibits other use various other handheld electronic communications devices, grooming, non-commercial use of CB radios, GPS data entry, writing, drawing, sketching, reading … [Read more...]

Double trouble for distracted driver; mayor busted

A pair of odds and ends, with the emphasis on odd: Here's a candidate for the world's most brazen distracted driver: British police were in the process of stopping David Secker of Norwich for using a handheld cell phone while driving on a freeway. To their astonishment, the officers then realized that he was texting on another cell phone. The capper: Secker reportedly made the officer wait for him to finish his cell phone call. Sentencing is Aug. 15. Toronto's mayor allegedly gave the finger to a citizen who scolded him for using a cell phone while driving. Ottilie Mason said she gave … [Read more...]