City of Hamilton looks to crack down on distracted driving with latest traffic initiative

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Published April 9, 2021 at 8:25 am

The City of Hamilton is looking to crack down on distracted driving as they launch an educational initiative aimed at motorists who may not realize what constitutes distracted driving.

The initiative, launched Thursday (April 8), is part of Hamilton’s Vision Zero Action Plan which looks to improve roadway safety to the point where there are zero fatalities on our roads.

According to the city’s website, distracted driving is defined as ‘any activity that distracts the driver from safely operating their vehicle,’ and the following list provides some examples:

  • reading
  • watching videos and using other electronic devices
  • eating and/or drinking
  • smoking
  • pets or animals
  • children or passengers
  • personal grooming

In recent years, distracted driving has surpassed impaired driving as the leading cause of collisions across the country, the city’s website said.

Fines for distracted driving are anywhere between $300 to $1,000 and if convicted of said offense, a driver can gain three demerit points, which will cause insurance rates to soar or, for repeat offenders, lose a driver’s licence.

New drivers convicted of any Graduated Licensing System violation are subject to:

  • Minimum 30 day licence suspension for a first offence
  • 90 day licence suspension for a second conviction
  • Third and subsequent instances can lead to the cancellation of their driver’s licence and removal from the Graduated Licensing System

For more information on distracted driving and Hamilton’s Vision Zero Action plan, visit the city’s website.

In the meantime, the City of Hamilton offers the following suggestions to ensure drivers keep their eyes and minds on the road:

  • Only use your cell phone when you’re parked, have a passenger make/take the call, or let it go to voicemail.
  • Turn your cell phone on silent or leave it in your bag to reduce the urge to reach for it.
  • Set your GPS and preset your radio before leaving.
  • Avoid other distractions like reading, grooming, eating/drinking, tending to children/pets.
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