York Regional Police is inviting media to a Distracted Driving Blitz aimed at educating drivers and enforcing the amendments to the Highway Traffic that deal with hand-held communication devices.
Following the end of the three-month grace period beginning Monday, February 1, 2010, York Regional Police will be enforcing the new distracted driving laws by issuing tickets for the charges of Driving with Display Screen Visible to Driver and Operating a Hand-Held Communication Device or Entertainment Device While Driving, contrary to Sections 78 and 78.1 of the Highway Traffic Act. The set fine for these offences will carry a penalty of $125.
York Regional Police officers have issued 247 warnings since October 2009 to drivers who were operating their vehicles in contravention of the new laws, after the re-launch of the 2007 Operation Stay Focused program. Officers from the Traffic Bureau, Community Oriented Response Units and uniform patrol focused on awareness and education in urging drivers to keep their hands on the wheel, to drive responsibly and stay focused.
The consequences of losing your focus on the road can be serious, even fatal. Studies show that a driver using a cell phone is four times more likely to be involved in a collision than a driver who is completely focused on driving. Dialling and texting has been found to carry the highest degree of risk of all cell phone-related activities.
“York Region has some of the busiest roads in the Greater Toronto Area,” said York Regional Police Chief Armand La Barge. “Drivers need to concentrate solely on driving. No phone call or email is worth more than your safety or the safety of other motorists or pedestrians.”
Already this year in York Region there have been six fatal motor vehicle collisions including two involving pedestrians. Another three collisions this year have left passengers with serious, life-threatening personal injuries.
The blitz will take place on Monday, February 1, 2010, beginning at 7:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m., at the intersection of Leslie Street and Major Mackenzie Drive East in the Town of Richmond Hill.
By following these safety messages, drivers can stay focused while driving:
- Do not receive phone calls, texts or emails while driving
- Keep your hands on the wheel and avoid using any hand-held device while driving
- Driving requires your complete and undivided attention, the driver’s seat is no place to multi-task
- Be a responsible caller - don’t call, text or email someone if you know they are driving
For more information please contact Sergeant Edmond Villamere at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7703. Questions are also welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information on Bill 118 can be obtained by visiting: www.news.ontario.ca/mto/en/2009/09/ban-on-hand-held-devices-starts-in-october.html