OPP officers across the region have laid more distracted driving charges so far this year, compared to all of 2017. 190 distracted driving charges have been laid to-date in 2018, compared to only 141 in 2017.

However, careless driving charges have seen a decline in the region, with 156 charges laid this year. In 2017, there were 237 charges laid across northwestern Ontario.

The report comes as penalties for distracted driving are set to increase in the new year. Currently, a distracted driving charge in Ontario can lead to a fine of $90 if settled out of court, a fine of up to $1,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose, as well as three demerit points. 

Novice drivers in Ontario currently do not receive demerit points for distracted driving – however they would face a 30-day licence suspension for a first conviction, a 90-day licence suspension for a second conviction, and the cancellation of your licence and removal from the Graduated Licensing System for a third conviction. 

Those penalties are set to increase in January, 2019. Once the change takes effect, a first conviction can lead to a fine of up to $1,000, three demerit points, and a three-day licence suspension.

A second conviction within five years would lead to a fine of up to $2,000, six demerit points, and a seven-day licence suspension. A third conviction in five years would lead to a $3,000 fine, six demerit points and a 30-day licence suspension. 

Novice drivers would still face the fine and 30 or 90 day licence suspensions, and possible licence cancellations – depending on the number of distracted driving convictions on-record. 


Distracted driving continues to be the top cause of road deaths in Ontario. In 2017, the OPP responded to 8,711 road accidents that were linked to distracted driving – leading to 83 deaths. Since 2009, distracted driving has been linked to 692 deaths on OPP-patrolled roads. In northwestern Ontario, the OPP say that six lives were lost due to distracted driving in 2017.

For more information:
Manitoba, Ontario increasing distracted driving penalties

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