Police have confirmed that the new driving laws of Canada will formally take effect in all provinces on January 1, 2021.
Under the new law, drivers convicted of distracted driving will be dealt with by issuing him or her a licence suspension, a huge fine and demerit points. The punishment’s severity increases with the number of additional offences committed:
First offence: 14 days suspension and $4,000 fine
Second offence: 30 days suspension and $8,000 fine
Third and subsequent offences: two months suspension, $10,000 fine and six demerit points
Police won’t be able to seize the driver’s licences at roadside, as such, they would have to get the ruling of a judge before they can suspend any driver’s licences.
While talking about the new law, Const. Clint Stibbe said: “It will not be a roadside suspension by a police officer, it will be conviction at court for an offence of distracted driving. Once you’re convicted, whether it is through a guilty plea or trial, you will lose your licence for seven days, 30 days or two months.”
It should be noted that distracted driving is now beyond texting and making phone calls, as such, the Canadian Government has released a list of activities which count as distracted driving. Part of the activities ranges from anything from holding an electronic device with one’s hand to eating while driving.
The government has made it clear that distracted driving is anything that makes a driver lose focus on the road but some drivers can put up an argument that the definition is subjective.
Also, the government announced that it would no longer let drivers off with warning if they guilty of distracted driving. By implication, guilty offenders will automatically be fined.
Sgt. David Rektor said: “The time for warnings is certainly gone. Warnings served a purpose at the initial stages when people were transitioning to this law, but this law has been in effect for a number of years now. There’s no reason why somebody needs to be distracted.”