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Distracted Driving

As of September 1, 2011, distracted driving became a ticketable offence.

As of January 1, 2016, the fine for breaking the distracted driving law is a $287 fine AND 3 demerit points. 

If a driver is exhibiting more risky behaviour, they can be charged with driving carelessly and receive a fine of $402 and six demerit points.

While driving (including drive-thrus), it is illegal to:

  • Use a hand-held phone while talking, texting and/or e-mailing
  • Operate electronic devices like video players and laptops
  • Manually program GPS units or portable audio players
  • Read or write
  • Engage in personal grooming

Drivers are allowed to use hands-free mobile devices that are activated by a single touch or voice activated, eat a snack, drink a beverage, smoke, or talk with a passenger while driving.

Please know that a pet occupying the front seat, or on the lap of a driver could be charged with distracted driving if the driver appears to be too involved with his/her pet. A driver could also be charged for a pet occupying the front seat of a vehicle such that the pet interferes with the driver's access to the vehicle controls and the safe operation of the vehicle. [TSA 115.2 (i)] A driver could also be charged if a pet obstructs the driver's clear vision in any direction. [TSA 115.2(j)]

The public should not  call 911 to report distracted drivers unless there is a significant risk and the driver is displaying erratic behaviour. Members of the public can report a distracted driver to their local Community Station. The complainant must be able to identify the driver, vehicle and be willing to testify as a witness in court.

There are some exceptions to this law:

  1. Emergency personnel such as fire rescue, EMS and police are exempt from using hand-held radio communications and electronic devices while performing their duties.
  2. Calling 911 in an emergency, or to report an impaired driver as part of the Curb the Danger program, is permitted while driving under the distracted driving law.