February 14, 2019 3:38 pm
Updated: February 14, 2019 5:39 pm

Peterborough Police crack down on distracted drivers in February

Driving while holding a communication device carries a $615 fine, three demerit points and an automatic three-day licence suspension, upon conviction.

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Officers with Peterborough Police’s traffic unit are out in force this month, looking for motorists who have their phones in their hands while driving.

On Thursday (Feb. 14), constable Matt McGill handed out six tickets for driving while using a handheld device. The fine is $615, three demerit points and upon conviction, a three-day driving suspension.

“We’re still seeing it a lot. Everyone we stop knows,” McGill said. “That’s why we’re out here. We want to correct this behaviour.”

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During the blitz on Thursday, one officer stood at the intersection and watched drivers. When he saw someone on their phone while driving, he radioed to McGill, who then made the traffic stop.

“It’s been very busy this month. We had a day last week where we got 31 tickets in one day,” McGill added. “It’s the focus for the month. Unfortunately, we’ll get a lot more than that.”

You’re allowed to have your phone with you in your car. It just can’t be in your hands.

“A lot of people use it for GPS or music, which is not an issue, as long as it’s on the dash in a mount and you can use one finger to activate it,” McGill said. “The moment that you’re holding onto it, whether you’re using it or not, that’s when the offence is committed.”

While drinking coffee and eating are distractions, they do not fall under the handheld communications law. An officer can charge you with careless driving, if you’re driving erratically or are in a collision.

“You require 100 per cent of your attention to operate a motor vehicle, 100 per cent of the time.”

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