Police targeting distracted drivers under Operation Hands Free

On Friday, February 21st the Saugeen Shores Police will be conducting enhanced enforcement targeting distracted drivers. “Operation Hands Free” will continue until March 6th .

“The use of hand held devices continues to be a problem,” said Constable Rose Witteveen. “Even with stiffer penalties drivers still don’t seem deterred to put the phone down.”

An area of concern is the use of devices while stopped at red lights. “As long as the vehicle is in live traffic, even when stopped at a light, the operator is subject to sanctions if caught using a hand held device,” adds Witteveen.

It has now been over a year since the province implemented higher penalties.

What Counts as Distracted Driving (Ontario.ca) It is illegal to:

• use a phone or other hand-held wireless communication device to text or dial – you can only touch a device to call 911 in an emergency
• use a hand-held electronic entertainment device, such as a tablet or portable gaming console
• view display screens unrelated to driving, such as watching a video
• program a GPS device, except by voice commands

The following information outlines the fines and suspensions that violators face.

***If you have an A, B, C, D, E, F and/or G licence For your first conviction: fine of up to $1,000 three demerit points three-day day driver’s licence suspension

For your second conviction within 5 years: fine of up to $2,000 six demerit points seven -day driver’s licence suspension

For your third and all subsequent convictions within 5 years: fine of up to $3,000 six demerit points 30 -day driver’s licence suspension

Novice drivers

If you hold a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence, and are convicted of distracted driving, you’ll face the same escalating fines as drivers with A to G licences but you won’t receive any demerit points.

Instead of demerit points you’ll face:

  • 30-day licence suspension for a first conviction
  • 90-day licence suspension for a second conviction
  • cancellation of your licence and removal from the Graduated Licensing System (GLS) for a third conviction