Distracted Driving

Since 2008, every province and territory in Canada, with the exception of Nunavut, has created laws to deal with cellphone use by drivers. According to the Canadian Automotive Association (CAA), if you are charged with hand-held device while driving, a distracted driving charge may be laid, resulting in a $100 to $400 fine, and 4 Demerit Points in Newfoundland and Labrador. As of October 1, 2010 the province prohibited the use of electronic devices “to send or read text messages, or programming GPS devices while the vehicle is in motion.”

Drivers are more likely to be in a crash or near crash event compared with non-distracted drivers when: Text messaging (or texting) on a cell phone – 23 times more likely; Talking on a cell phone – 4 to 5 times more likely; Reaching for a moving object – 9 times more likely; and doing things in your car like reading, applying makeup, dialing on a hand-held device while driving – 3 times more likely.

According to a March 2014 CBC news article, although much of the discussion about distracted driving focuses on hand-held electronic devices such as cellphones, Toronto police say the offence applies to any action that a driver engages in [that] takes their focus away from the safe operation of a motor vehicle. Ontario Provincial Police have said that distracted driving is the “number one killer on the roads.”

To stay safe while driving, and to arrive alive, before you drive:

  • • Allow plenty of travel time
  • Review all maps and directions prior to driving
  • Prepare children with everything they need prior to driving
  • Secure pets properly prior to driving
  • Pre-set climate control and radio prior to driving
  • Pre-program route on GPS devices prior to driving
  • Keep the vehicle tidy, stow and secure loose objects, and place all reading material in your trunk to avoid being distracted

While you’re driving:

  • Allow phone calls to go to voicemail
  • Do not text, surf the web or read emails, eat, drink, groom, or smoke
  • Stop at safe locations (rest stops or commuter lots) to make and receive calls
  • Keep your eyes and mind on the road with two hands on the wheel for better control and less fatigue

With 10 locations across Newfoundland & Labrador, there is always a Steers Insurance location close by to find you the right auto insurance at the right price. If you have questions about distracted driving or any other insurance issue, or would like an auto insurance quote, call Steers Insurance toll free at 1-877-478-3377 or at 709-722-1532 in St. John’s, today.

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