Distracted and Impaired Driving

Made up of members of the public, municipal Councillors, and professionals from police services, paramedics and healthcare, the Brantford, Brant and Six Nations Impaired and Distracted Driving Committee is dedicated to reducing the instances of death or injury related to distracted or impaired driving.

Distracted and Impaired Driving

The two biggest threats to everyone’s safety on the road are distracted driving and impaired driving. If you’re distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it’s impossible to drive safely.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving, and the damage it can cause, is 100 per cent preventable. In Ontario, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000.

What is distracted driving?
While you are driving, including when you are stopped at a traffic or at a red light, 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

Other actions such as eating, drinking, grooming, smoking, reading and reaching for objects are not part of Ontario’s distracted driving law. However, you can still be charged with careless or dangerous driving.

Penalties for distracted driving
Fines for distracted driving in Ontario can be anywhere from $615 to $3,000 with three to five demerit points.

Tips to avoid distracted driving and its penalties

  • Turn off your phone or switch it to silent mode before you get in the car
    • Put it in a glove compartment (lock it, if you have to) or in a bag on the back seat
  • Before you leave the house, record an outgoing message that tells callers you’re driving and you’ll get back to them when you’re off the road
    • Some apps can block incoming calls and texts, or send automatic replies to people trying to call or text you
  • Ask a passenger to take a call or respond to a text for you
    • If you must respond, or have to make a call or send a text, carefully pull over to a safe area
  • Silence notifications that tempt you to check your phone

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving is a deadly and persistent problem. The deaths and injuries caused by impaired driving are 100 per cent preventable.

What is Impaired Driving?
Impaired driving means operating a vehicle (including cars, trucks, boats, snowmobiles and off-road vehicles) while your ability to do so has been compromised to any degree by consuming alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two.

Penalties for Impaired Driving
If police determine that you are driving while impaired you will face penalties immediately. You will also face additional consequences later if you are convicted in court. The penalties you face can vary depending on your age, licence type, the amount of alcohol or drugs in your system, and how many times you have been convicted. Learn more about the penalties on the Ministry of Transportation website.

Tips to avoid distracted driving and its penalties

There are simple steps you can take to avoid driving while you're impaired by drugs or alcohol:

  • Have a plan to get home safely. Have a designated driver, use public transit, call a friend or family member for a ride, call a taxi, or stay overnight.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist about side effects related to driving when using prescription medication.
  • Read the information on the package of any prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicine, including allergy and cold remedies.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist about how a prescription drug could affect you. Remember that combining drugs and alcohol together can impair your ability to drive more than using either one alone.