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March – Distracted Driving Awareness

Approved by: 209 - March 23, 2020

The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service recognizes March as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

We urge every driver to please put down their mobile devices while driving. Provincial statistics show a driver using a mobile device is four times more likely to crash than a driver who is focused on the roadway and a person is injured in a distracted driving collision every half hour.

“Distracted driving continues to be an area of concern on local roads,” says Traffic Sergeant Ray Magnan. “It has been proven that checking a text for five seconds while driving 90 km/h, means you’ve travelled the length of a football field blindfolded. That is scary to think about. Please, put down your device. We want everyone to arrive to their destinations safely.”

In the last five years we have laid 519 charges associated with using a handheld device while driving. We want everyone to please avoid using your mobile devices while driving in an effort to make everyone in our community safe.

It is against the law to drive while holding a handheld communication or entertainment device. This includes holding a phone in your hand and talking on speaker phone.

In order for a driver to lawfully hold a device while in a motor vehicle three conditions must be present.

  1. The motor vehicle must be pulled off of the roadway,
  2. The vehicle must not be impeding traffic, and;
  3. The vehicle must be lawfully parked.

It is important to remember placing a call to 911 in cases of emergency, e.g. police, fire, to report an impaired driver, is an exception to the law.

If a driver chooses to use a Bluetooth connected device, they are reminded they are only permitted to touch the screen momentarily to activate or deactivate the hands free function, and only if the device is mounted or secured. 

Having a device on your lap is not considered to be a mounted or secure place. Drivers are also reminded they cannot manipulate the screen on a device to scroll through music, emails, texts or any other information that may be accessible on the device.

Upon a first conviction, a person will face a minimum fine of $615, three demerit points, and a three-day license suspension; however, they could face a fine of up to $1,000. On multiple convictions a driver could face a fine of up to $3,000, six demerit points and a 30-day license suspension. A novice driver, (G1 or G2) will face the same fines however, they will face a 30-day license suspension for a first conviction, a 90-day suspension for a second conviction and the cancellation of their license and removal from the Graduated Licensing System for a third conviction. 

Sault Police want to provide a safe environment for everyone on the streets of Sault Ste. Marie and Prince Township. Everyone plays a part in keeping the community safe. Do your part. Put down your phone.

For more information on Distracted Driving please visit the provincial website.

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