Stranded Driver

Community Action

Distracted Driving Legislation.

The ban against using hand-held devices while driving in Ontario has been in effect since October 2009. Unfortunately, Ontario has still seen an increase in distracted driving incidents following the ban. As a result, the Ontario Legislature passed Bill 31 in June 2015, also known as the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act.

Recognizing that distracted driving is a significant and growing issue on our roads, the Bill allows for an increase in fines and possible demerit points if convicted. Here is a snapshot of the changes, upon conviction of a distracted driving offense.

As of September 1, 2015, new fines and penalties are in effect.

Fines:

$490 (minimum)

Demerit points:

3 points

Escalated sanctions for new drivers and graduated licensing offences:

First conviction: You could receive a 30-day driver’s licence suspension
Second conviction: 90-day driver’s licence suspension
Third conviction: driver’s licence cancellation

Distracted driving in Canada:

All provinces and territories (except Nunavut) in Canada have distracted driving legislation in place. For more details and a breakdown of current legislations by province, visit the CAA Distracted Driving website.


For additional information on the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act, including changes to Slow Down, Move Over and cycling legislations, visit Heads Up! Ontario.

Distracted Driving Exemptions.

Ontario's distracted driving legislation applies to hand-held wireless communications and electronic entertainment devices. Motorists must only use wireless devices in a hands-free manner.

Motorists are not permitted to use hand-held communication and electronic entertainment devices when driving, with the following exceptions:

  • Calling 911 in an emergency situation
  • When the driver has safely pulled off the roadway and is stationary or is lawfully parked
  • Transmitting or receiving voice communication on a two-way radio, CB or mobile radio (hand-mikes and portable radios like walkie-talkies require a lapel button or other hands-free accessory)

Emergency Response Personnel Exemptions.

Police, fire department and emergency medical services personnel can also use hand-held devices and view display screens when performing their duties.

Devices that Can and Cannot Be Used While Driving.

You cannot use any device that requires you to scroll, type or otherwise use your hands to activate or operate it.

You can use the following:

  • Any cell phone or personal audio device that is pre-programmed and plugged into your car’s sound system. You may also activate these devices to hands-free mode while driving (if applicable).
  • A GPS that has been pre-programmed and secured to your car’s dashboard or windshield
  • Bluetooth or hands-free devices and headsets
  • Two-way, CB or mobile radios. Hand-mikes and portable radios like walkie-talkies must have a lapel button or other hands-free accessory.

The number of wireless and communication devices has increased in the past few years. Here is a list of devices you cannot use while driving.

  • iPods and MP3 players
  • Laptops
  • DVD players
  • Cell phones
  • Tablets
  • Smartphones

Remember, it is also illegal to view any display screens that are unrelated to your driving. If you are using your cell phone or personal audio player while it is plugged into your sound system, ensure that it is in a place where the screen will not be a distraction.

For more information on distracted driving, visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation distracted driving website.