As Christmas shopping season draws near, those driving across the Manitoba border should be aware of the province’s stiff new penalties for distracted driving.

As of November 1, fines for distracted driving more than tripled in Manitoba - from $203 to $672. Manitoba also introduced an automatic three-day licence suspension, as well as five demerit points.

Manitoba Public Insurance says that if an Ontario driver was caught and charged for distracted driving in Manitoba, they would still receive the hefty fine and licence suspension, however, according to the Canadian Driver Licence Compact of 1990, Manitoba would not have the authority to apply demerit points to your record.

However, the national agreement – which excludes British Columbia, Nunavut and Quebec – allows for the province of Manitoba to share the charge with the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, which would result in demerit points being applied to your record from Ontario.

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. The suspension is not automatic like Manitoba’s, as a judge would have to order the licence suspended after the driver is found guilty.

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.

Read more here:
Distracted driving more than cell phones, OPP

More Local News

Ottawa to help skills training

Ottawa's new training benefit program will offer $2.3 million for workers in the district. Kenora MP Bob Nault made the announcement, after visiting with the prime minister -- as well as the minister…

Developer balks at utility costs

David Luby had a straightforward message for Kenora city council. Unless he got help with water and sewer costs, he couldn't afford to build an 11-unit sub-division. "In past history, the town has…

Rickford 'cleaning up the (hydro) mess'

The provincial government is promising to keep its promise by lowering hydro rates by 12 per cent, as well as limit future rate increases to the rate of inflation. Earlier this week, Energy Minister…

Safe needle disposal tips

Residents are reminded to take extra care, while discarding of used needles this spring. The health unit says you should use gloves or tongs when picking up used needles, and to put them in a hard…

Kenora shop owner faces uncertainty after fire

The owner of Kenora’s Link & Pin, Mark Thompson, is starting to work on the rebuilding process. His storefront was demolished during last weekend’s Main Street fire, along with the remainder of the…

Fire chief, mayor talk decision to demolish

Crews are still cleaning up the rubble left from the demolition of the Lila's block in Kenora, following Sunday's fatal fire on Main Street. Once it was determined the fire wasn't going to go out…

OPP investigating Pikangikum homicide

The OPP is continuing to investigate a homicide in Pikangikum First Nation, 10 years following the death. On March 22, 2009, 33-year-old Judy Ann Quill of Pikangikum was last seen leaving a family…

Council won't be twinning the Rec Centre rink this term

Kenora Council have decided to hold off on plans to twin the rec centre rink. Council directed administration, at their last council meeting, to cease the needs assessment of a twinned ice surface at…

Aerial truck purchase pays off for city, firefighters

It was a tough first test for the City of Kenora’s new $1.2 million aerial firetruck. The vehicle was used on its first fire on Sunday, as emergency responders fought the Main Street fire – which led…

Police target, charge distracted drivers

Police are reminding residents to focus on the roads, not their phones. OPP officers across the North West Region recently completed a distracted driving enforcement blitz, taking place between March… is Kenora's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.