Texting and driving a growing problem requiring continued enforcement and stiffer penalties.

July 28, 2014, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

As reported in the Cambridge Times recently, in Waterloo Region the primary offenders of distracted driving are drivers aged 25 to 34.  Distracted driving includes driving while texting or talking on your mobile phone without a hands-free device.  This age group accounted for almost one-third of all charges laid by Waterloo Regional Police from 2010 to 2013.  Almost 25% of the charges went to drivers aged 35 to 44 while only 18% of charges when to drivers 16 to 25.  Between 2010 and 2013 the Waterloo Regional police laid almost 7,600 distracted driving charges.  One unfortunate observation is that nearly a third of the charges, totalling 2,430, were laid in 2013.  That represents a 22% increase in charges compared to 2012. It does not appear that drivers are getting the message.  People continue to take changes and text and drive at numbers that are continuing to grow.  This greatly threatens the safety of all on the roads, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists.  The Ontario Provincial Police have reported distracted driving as a casual factor in 30 to 50% of traffic collisions in Ontario. This is an alarmingly high number, especially if you consider that this distracted driving number could be higher due to likely under-reporting about cellphone use in the event of a car accident/traffic mishap.  The Liberal government had proposed, prior to the most recent provincial election, to toughen the penalties against drivers who are caught texting and driving.  The bill proposed a maximum fine of $1,000.00 and 3 demerit points.   Unfortunately the bill was terminated when the election was called and it will be up to the current government to resurrect the bill to move forward with the stiffer penalties. 

The issue of texting and driving, or using your hands to talk on your cellphone are habit based.  Drivers instinctively reach for their cellphone whenever they hear a signal that an email or text has come in.  The offending drivers are not showing a reasonable level of patience to look at the message after they have completed their driving or pull over to the side of the road and stop their car to view the messages.  For too long no action was taken on the issue until the problem was abundantly clear.  At that point it was going to require a change in culture and habit to get people to adjust their previously established habits.   This is not dissimilar to the seatbelt legislation.  The requirement to buckle up took many years and a variety of enforcement programs to get people to accept that they have to buckle up.  No one disputed the importance of wearing a seatbelt, just like no one disputes the problems with distracted driving and texting or talking and driving.  It is a habit based issue and laws need to be toughened up and effective enforcement and education strategies will have to be continuously developed and implements in order to achieve a level of success.

Posted under Personal Injury, Car Accidents, Chronic Pain, Distracted Drivers, Fractures, Pain and Suffering, Paraplegia

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Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

The opinions expressed here, while intended to provide useful information, should not be interpreted as legal recommendations or advice.

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