May 17, 2019 8:09 am
Updated: May 17, 2019 8:16 am

Hamilton police take aim at distracted driving for Victoria Day long weekend

Deb Matejicka and retired police officer Rob Hamel discuss safe driving in Calgary. This month's feature brings awareness to avoiding distracted driving.

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Hamilton police say they will focus their attention on distracted drivers through the Victoria Day long weekend.

“The program incorporates high visibility of traffic enforcement in various areas of the city,” said Hamilton Police Service in an email.

“Resources will be directed towards identified areas of concern in each Division for the purpose of reducing or eliminating collisions and encouraging compliance with the basic rules of the road.”

READ MORE: Winnipeg police crack down on distracted driving, discuss ‘one-touch’ phone operation

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), nearly 26 per cent of all car crashes involves phone use (including hands-free phone use).

The NSC says checking a text for five seconds at 90 km/h is equivalent to travelling the length of a football field blindfolded.

Distracted driving can be attributed to more than just using cellphones for calls or texting.

According to the City of Hamilton website, it can include any activity that distracts the driver from safely operating their vehicle such as:

  • Reading
  • Watching videos and using other electronic devices
  • Eating and/or drinking
  • Smoking
  • Pets or animals
  • Children or passengers
  • Personal grooming

Distracted driving is attributed to more motor vehicle collisions than drinking and driving in Ontario.

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It has a serious impact on the economy, as well.

According to the Government of Canada, economic losses caused by traffic collision-related health-care costs and lost productivity is $10 billion annually.

READ MORE: His cellphone was dead, but wearing earbuds constitutes distracted driving, B.C. court rules

Drivers charged with a distracted driving offence can face fines between $300 and $1,000.

If convicted, drivers lose three demerit points.

Young and novice drivers convicted of any Graduated Licensing System violation are subject to a minimum 30-day licence suspension for a first offence, a 90-day licence suspension for a second conviction, and subsequent instances can lead to the cancellation of their driver’s licence and removal from the Graduated Licensing System.

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