What’s The Most Outrageous Distracted Driving You’ve Seen On Our Roads?

Sunday June 29th, 2014

Posted at 3:30pm

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Guest Article by Monica Pathak, Lawyer at Goldstein DeBiase Manzocco, Serious Injury Lawyers

Cars today can sync with our mobile phones; have built-in cup holders and mirrors; and are equipped for using GPS and in some cases, watching video screens. For some, this translates into driving while attempting to juggle everyday tasks such as:

  • Using a mobile phone (to talk, text or post on social media);
  • Eating and drinking;
  • Grooming (such as putting on makeup);
  • Reading; and
  • Watching a video or Using a GPS.

While it’s true that the ability to multi-task is a highly prized skill in our tech-savvy and fast paced world, it has no place while driving a car. In April, the Internet was abuzz with the story of a thirty-two year old North Carolina woman who used her cell phone while driving to take “selfies” and to tell the world that she was “happy” (after listening to the Pharrell Williams song of the same name). Seconds later, she crashed head-on into an oncoming transport truck and was killed. Her distracted driving took away from her ability to see the road, keep her hands on the steering wheel and focus and react appropriately to the environment around her. Her distracted driving also made her four times more likely to be involved in a car crash.In fact, a study from the University of Utah showed that cell phone use while driving (including hands-free) delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Distracted Driving in Ontario

Despite the horror stories and statistics,distracted driving continues to threaten public safety on our roads. In October 2009, the Ontario government responded to this problem of using mobile devices while driving and created a law which makes it illegal to:

  • Talk;
  • Text;
  • Type or email; or
  • view video screens

unrelated to driving. The only instance in which a hand-held device can be used is to dial 911 and/or when the driver has pulled safely and properly off of the roadway. Otherwise, it is expected that motorists will use hands-free devices only.

Cost of Distracted Driving

Motorists caught using a hand-held device are subject to a fine of $225plus a victim surcharge and Court fees for a total penalty of $280. Those who challenge a ticket for distracted driving can face Court fines of up to $500.Stiffer penalties appear ahead. The government is in the process of increasing the fine to a maximum of $1,000 and imposing three demerit points to offenders.Distracted drivers can also be held civilly liable for injuries/fatalities caused to their passengers and/or other innocent motorists and pedestrians.

Clearly,updating social media, texting or any activity which takes your hands, your eyes, and your mind off of the road isn’t worth the heavy financial, legal and personal costs associated with distracted driving. The best practice is not to do it.

Tell us – what’s the most outrageous distracted driving activity you’ve seen on our roads?

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