Distracted Driving

| July 03, 2020

What's the big deal about having a handheld device while driving!

This is what a client ask me after I had to explain to him that we had to move his insurance to a high risk market. After giving him lecture for about 10 minutes, he looked a little beaten up. So I thought I better write about it.

We all know the coronavirus is killing people, but so is distracted driving. This is a serious business, so that the government, because of the increased rates of collisions and death involving distracted driving, has passed new laws. They have done their best to deter people from driving with their phones in their hands.

The fine rates have gone up to $1000.00 if you're caught with a handheld device while driving. Not only that, but they'll also suspend your license for three days and tack on demerit points.

There are a few exceptions to the rules:

Call 911 when you immediately witness an accident or an emergency situation.

If you take the time to pullover and lawfully park your vehicle, this can also be an exception to the rule to use your handheld device.This is something you definitely don't want to do if you are a newly-licensed driver. The penalty can be extremely severe. A new driver who does not have his G license as yet could see a 30 or 60 days suspension for the first and second offense. Your license can be outright canceled should you have a third offense. One would have to go through the entire graduated licensing program again to get your license reinstated.

 Can you use...

1. A hands-free in the car?

The answer is yes if it is a voice-activated, or you just have to touch it to turn it on or turn it off. Of course, scrolling or dialing is not allowed.

2. What about a GPS?

The answer is yes. However, you should input the information before driving poorly. If you have a voice-activated, you may simply tell the vehicle where you want to go by voice.

3. What about my media player?

We all know music and cars just go together. It's tough to have just silence in a vehicle, especially if you're driving by yourself.

So yes, you can use a media player. Just set up your playlist before you start to drive.

4. "I see people pick up the phone at a stoplight all the time..."

This activity is not allowed, and it would be considered a violation. Of course it is allowed, considering that it was an emergency situation.

Driving is a privilege. With the number of lives that are lost in North America every year due to motor vehicles, it is very important to remember: when you are behind the wheel, you should provide the utmost care and attention, so that you may arrive safely to your driving destination.

Practicing these five things while driving could get you hurt or worse:

1. Eating

Over the years, we are probably all guilty of this, but with education, we see it less and less on the roadways. A hamburger, fries, and a drink, double the likelihood of having an accident in between gulps.

2. Grooming

We've all heard of the man shaving behind the wheel while driving to work, and you probably have seen pictures or videos of a lady trying to apply makeup or eyeliner while driving. Don't do this!

3. Reading

Reading a map. Reading a paperwork. Reading a newspaper. Those precious few seconds, taking your eyes off the road, can be life-changing.

4. Reaching

We've all seen that movie where someone is driving, and suddenly they knock something over the seat or on the floor of their vehicle. They decide they can't continue driving without reaching over to try to pick up the item. In a movie, we usually hear the oncoming horn blowing, and the person looks up just in time to avoid a major accident. This movie is real because that happens on our roads every day with distracted driving.

5. Texting

It's the real deal and a major cause why the government's have had to crack down on distracted driving.

Phone records are pulled, and evidence will sometimes show that someone was on their phone just before the accident. Texting takes time. People have to look at their phones to see what they are texting for at least 5 or 10 seconds. If you think traveling blind at 120 kilometres per hour is absolutely crazy, that's what people are doing when they take their eyes off the highway for 5 or 10 seconds. 

In conclusion

Distracted driving is a big problem right now. I believe with proper education of those who are driving, and a constant messaging being put out, eventually, this will lead us all to be safer on the roads.

Let's remember seat belts save lives, and now that is a new normal!

Let's remember all the drunk driving initiatives that has greatly reduced the number of drunk driving in fractions. Although, this area is a constant battle and the messaging can never be let up or slowed down.

The government has increased the rates of fines. They are serious about this. The insurance companies have made this a major ticket that will land you into high-risk immediately, increasing the cost of your insurance by thousands of dollars. These heavy initiatives will most likely have some effect and in years to come. We will see distracted driving accidents come down.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me at Bethel Insurance Brokers or call 905-683-2323!