Ontario has been making a concerted effort to crack down on distracted driving lately. Fines for offenders are bigger than they’ve ever been and can now result in automatic license suspensions. But using your cellphone while driving isn’t the only way to get caught up in committing a distracted driving offense.
According to the RCMP, distracted driving is defined as anything that causes a driver’s judgment to be impaired while behind the wheel. This includes:
- Talking on a cellphone
- Reading (cellphones, books, maps, newspapers)
- Watching videos and movies
- Personal grooming
- Adjusting the radio or a CD or playing extremely loud music
- Conversing with other passengers while fatigued
- Eating and driving
So what happens if you’re caught doing one of these things? The punishment isn’t always equal and it’s basically left up to the discretion of the officer who catches you in the act. Depending on the circumstances, you can be fined over $500, lose up to 5 demerit points and even have your license suspended.
Just last year the RCMP in BC tweeted a reminder to Canadians that eating a bowl of soup while driving could lead to a $368 fine and a loss of six demerit points, presumably after someone was slammed with said fine.
The RCMP recommends only drinking and eating at stop signs, planning trips to avoid having to use devices in the car and keeping music at a reasonable level.
So the next time you’re looking to eat your morning cereal in the car or clip your nails, well, you may just want to take a hard pass and do it when you reach your destination.