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Fighting a Texting While Driving Ticket in Ontario

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In 2009, Ontario placed a ban on hand-held devices, making it illegal to use a hand-held entertainment device or cell phone to text, dial, talk or email while driving. This distracted driving law was implemented to make Ontario’s roads safer. Distracted driving is fast becoming the number 1 killer on the roads, and in order to further curtail distracted driving, such as texting while driving, Ontario’s Transportation Minister is reintroducing a bill that would increase the ticket fines from its current range of $60 - $500 to $300 - $1000.

Texting while driving is viewed as a serious offence and can result in a ticket and heavy penalties. Although there are no demerit points associated with distracted driving in Ontario at this time, drivers who endanger the lives of other road users due to distractions such as texting while driving, can be charged with Careless Driving under the Highway Traffic Act or Dangerous Driving under the Criminal Code.

If you have been charged with distracted driving (e.g. texting while driving) and have gotten a ticket in Ontario, obtain legal counsel. Mishandling of a distracted driving ticket, when challenging it in court, can result in an increase in or a doubling of the fines.
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Recent studies show that a driver using a cellphone to call or text while driving, is four times more likely to be in a car accident than a focused driver. To stop the habit of cell phone usage while driving, Ontario’s 2009 ban on use of hand-held devices may soon result in even stiffer penalties and fines. Currently, if caught texting while driving in Ontario, you can receive a ticket for $280, if you decide to settle out of court. This fine can be increased to $500 if you choose to challenge the ticket in court.

 

The distracted driving law does have some exceptions. Drivers can still use hands-free devices. These can include a cell phone with a headset or a Bluetooth device, GPS devices, or a portable media player such as an iPod. Important to note is that these devices must be plugged in or mounted in a place that does not obstruct the driver’s view. Activating or deactivating a device by the push of a button is exempt from the distracted driving law. Drivers can still use their cell phones to make 911 calls. The law also does not apply to cars that are pulled over or lawfully parked. However, it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that they are not pulling over on the shoulder of a 400-series highway, unless it is an emergency.

 

Fighting a ticket in Ontario for texting while driving or the use of hand-held devices is an extremely challenging procedure. Not knowing the case law and mishandling the case can result in heftier fines and penalties. Consult professionals in this field who have expertise in disputing traffic tickets to have your fine reduced or dismissed.

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