The next time you are driving and decide to use your phone – think again, it’s illegal. Distracted driving is dangerous for all road users including pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, commuters, mobility-device users and other methods of active transportation. The Distracted Driving law applies to the use of any handheld communications device and display screens like a phone, tablet or gaming console. The City, in partnership with the Road Safety Committee, is rolling out a campaign this September to remind Mississauga road users about the dangers of distracted driving.
“Far too many drivers continue to be distracted on Mississauga roads. It only takes seconds to cause a life-altering crash that can impact you, your passenger and others on the road. Whether you’re setting a GPS route or talking and texting, using your phone while driving just isn’t worth it. Last year, Peel Regional Police issued a total of 1,140 distracted driving tickets, 500 of which were in Mississauga,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “Keeping our roads safe here in Mississauga is one of our top priorities. Any death or injury on our roads is unacceptable. This campaign will help educate and ensure the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers and ensure they continue to move safely and freely around our city.”
The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) reports that you’re four times more likely to have a crash when you’re distracted while driving and the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) reports that one in three drivers in Ontario engages in distracted driving with a mobile device. Additionally, research from the MTO, Traffic Injury Research Foundation and CAA found that young drivers under the age of 44 are more engaged in distracted driving.
Awareness of distracted driving is an important aspect of the Road Safety Committee’s 2020 goal to develop awareness and educate Mississauga residents about road safety initiatives, programs and issues.
“The Road Safety Committee is focusing its efforts on distracted driving in September with a goal of creating more awareness around this dangerous habit,” said Ward 9 Councillor Pat Saito, Road Safety Committee Chair. “The statistics tell a story. They are staggering and we need to make our roads safer by sending a strong message to our residents that distracted driving is dangerous.”
The Committee has been largely driven by the Vision Zero Framework. The framework focuses on the prevention of fatalities and injuries due to motor vehicle collisions.
“Our Transportation Master Plan has a goal of safety for all travellers on our roads,” said Geoff Wright, Commissioner, Transportation and Works. “Vision Zero is a key component of the Transportation Master Plan and the plan proposes 26 actions to achieve the safety goal. We are working in partnership with the Road Safety Committee, and raising awareness of distracted driving is one example of us working toward preventing fatalities and injuries on our roads.”
For a first distracted driving offence, you’ll receive a $615 fine up to $1,000, three demerit points and a three-day licence suspension. Second-time distracted driving offenders will receive a minimum $615 fine up to $2,000, six demerit points and a seven-day licence suspension.
To learn more about road safety in Mississauga, visit: https://web.mississauga.ca/services-and-programs/transportation-and-streets/traffic/