The Ontario government has announced plans to increase fines for distracted driving, a move that the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association welcomes.
OTLA Director of Public Affairs, John Karapita, is pictured in a group above with Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca (center), MPPs Eleanor McMahon, Kathryn McGarry, Mike Colle and Han Dong, along with OSL President Brian Patterson and many more road safety partners, during the announcement made in Toronto on October 21, 2014. Mr. Karapita called the proposed changes to the Highway Traffic Act very promising and stated “By increasing the financial penalties associated with distracted driving the government is sending a clear message that using a cellphone while driving is dangerous and should not be tolerated.”
Statistics gathered this year confirm that distracted driving takes lives on the roads. In March 2014, the Ontario Provincial Police called distracted driving the “number one killer on roads” so it is timely that we are now seeing the penalties associated with this dangerous activity increasing.
The proposed legislation contemplates amendments to the Highway Traffic Act, addresses other areas of safety including drug impaired driving, pedestrian and cyclist safety and will be debated at Queen’s Park in the weeks ahead.
Contributed by Laura Hillyer, an OTLA Director and lawyer practising with Martin & Hillyer Associates in Burlington, Ont.