I grew up back when seat belt laws were just being introduced. As with any change in regulations, there was a segment of the population who were outraged by the new mandatory rules. Some resisted, but with the passage of time, stricter enforcement and stiffer fines – most people adapted and today wearing a seat belt has become second nature. Some people still shun them, but they are a faint minority.
Distracted driving laws seem to be following the same pattern. While most understand and respect the need for new regulations, there is a segment of the population who still think they can safely operate a vehicle while using a hand held device. Regardless of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, fines and the safety of other drivers, cyclist and pedestrians don’t seem to factor in their decision to skirt distracted driving laws.
Like many others in Barrhaven, I frequently use my car to get around (although I try to walk and cycle when I can). I constantly see people using their smartphones while driving. All the time. It especially concerns me when the driver in question is behind me.
That’s why I fully support the new distracted driving laws recently introduced in the province of Ontario. They have bite. Offenders will now be fined between $300 and $1000 for each offence. But that’s just the start. The law also calls for 3 demerit points on your driving record. And we all know what that means in terms of your car insurance rates. They will rise substantially come your next renewal.
And what if your distracted driving causes an accident? Then you can get charged with careless driving which carries much stiffer fines and a penalty of 6 demerit points. That would send your insurance rates into the stratosphere. Think $4000+ per year.
So next time you get in your vehicle, put your smartphone away and focus on your driving. It will make you and everyone around you much safer.