Distracted Driving Fines to Increase in 2019

 As Ontario police services continue Campaigns targeting distracted drivers, officers are preparing for more severe penalties that could see drivers pay more in fines and have their licences suspended.

As of Jan. 1, those pulled over will receive a summons to attend court. If you’re convicted of distracted driving for the first time, you could receive a fine of up to $1,000 (currently it’s $490) and three demerit points on your licence. A second conviction could mean a fine of up to $2,000 and a seven-day licence suspension and a third offence could mean a fine of up to $3,000 and a 30-day suspension.

“With these increased fines and driver suspensions coming in the new year, hopefully people will take it more seriously and not use their phone while driving,” OPP Const. Roop Sandhu told CKWS News on Thursday while noting drivers convicted of multiple distracted driving-related offences could also receive six demerit points.

“For the past four years on OPP-patrolled roads, inattentive driving [while using] electronic devices has been the leading cause of the majority of fatalities in Ontario.”

Sandhu said there were 83 fatalities on OPP-patrolled roads due to inattentive driving compared to 46 alcohol and drug-related fatalities.

He also reminded drivers distracted driving charges aren’t restricted to the use of cellphones. Sandhu said police could charge drivers if officers observe anything that distracts motorists from the road, for example eating, putting on make-up, turning around to grab something from the back seat, etc.

The changes were previously approved by the Ontario legislature.

On local roads, officers have also seen an increase in the amount of distracted driving charges laid – forcing some police services to take creative measures.

York Regional Police (YRP) introduced the “distracted destroyer” character in March, a fictional hockey player who goes after people on their cellphones.

The parody video released at the time shows Deputy Chief Tom Carrique speaking at a news conference before it cuts to scenes of the hockey player tackling people who have their heads down, engaged on their cellphones.

“They make it too easy. If they had their heads up, I wouldn’t hit ’em,” the hockey player said, before he checked another hockey player who “just had to check [their] Snapchat.”

YRP officers laid 5,577 distracted driving charges in 2017 to drivers using handheld devices. The number of charges last year increased by 21 per cent compared to 2016.

Source: https://globalnews.ca/news/4275159/distracted-driving-ontario-increased-fines-licence-suspensions-2019/

School Bus Safety – Keeping Our Children Safe

School bus travel is very safe in Ontario. Injuries and fatalities, which are very rare, happen more often outside the school bus as students are boarding and leaving the bus or crossing the street.

It’s important for motorists, parents, caregivers and students to know how to keep children safe when they are on and around school buses.

Drivers: know the rules

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When driving on a road WITHOUT a median:

  • drivers travelling in both directions must stop for a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing
  • when you approach the bus from the front, stop at a safe distance to let children get on or off the bus and cross the road
  • don’t move forward until the red lights have stopped flashing or the bus begins to move

When driving on a road WITH a median:

  • traffic coming from the opposite direction is not required to stop.


Drivers can be charged if they pass a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing:

  • First offence: $400 to $2,000 and six demerit points..
  • Each following offence: $1,000 to $4,000, six demerit points and possible jail time (up to six months)

Vehicle owners can be charged if their vehicle illegally passes a stopped school bus, even if they weren’t driving.

Students: Stay safe

Illustration of danger zones around school bus.

School bus travel is very safe in Ontario. Injuries and fatalities, which are very rare, happen more often outside the school bus as students are boarding and leaving the bus or crossing the street.

Parents, help keep your children safe by talking about bus safety with them.

When you board or leave a bus

  • Be at the bus stop before the bus comes.
  • Wait in a safe place well back from the edge of the road – don’t play in ditches or on snow banks.
  • Stay out of the DANGER ZONE. If you can touch the bus, you’re too close. U se 10 giants steps to take you out of the DANGER ZONE, and make sure you and the bus driver can see each other.
  • Always cross the road in front of the bus, never behind.
  • Look all ways and wait for the driver to signal before you cross in front of a bus.
  • Walk at least 10 big steps from the front of the bus.
  • Enter or exit the bus in single file. Never push or shove.
  • Walk – never run – across the road.
  • NEVER stop to pick up anything that you may have dropped in the DANGER ZONE. Ask an adult or the bus driver to help.

While on the bus

  • Find a seat right away. Stay seated, facing forward at all times.
  • Don’t put things in the aisle.
  • Never distract the bus driver. Always follow his or her instructions.
  • Don’t eat or drink.
  • Don’t yell, push people or throw things.
  • Keep your arms and head inside the bus.

Reporting Drivers Who Don’t Stop

You can report a vehicle that doesn’t stop properly for a school bus to police immediately by calling 911.

You can also go to the nearest police station and file a complaint. The police will ask you:

  1. The date and time of the incident.
  2. The vehicle’s make, model, colour and licence number.
  3. Who was driving?
  4. Was the bus a “chrome yellow” school bus with the words “School Bus” at both the front and rear of the bus?
  5. Was it a small or a large school bus?
  6. Was the school bus stopped?
  7. Were the upper red lights of the school bus flashing while it was stopped?
  8. Were there passengers boarding or leaving the school bus?
  9. Did the vehicle pass the school bus from behind or was it coming toward the bus in the opposite lane?

Other details can also help, such as witness accounts or photographs.

Source: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/school-bus-safety.shtml


4 Ways To Prepare For Water-Related Damage – by I.B.C

In today’s world of extreme weather events, $1 billion has become the new normal for yearly catastrophic losses – most of this is due to water-related damage.

Flooding and related sewer backup damage is costly for homeowners, businesses, municipalities and insurance companies. But, there are steps you can take to help mitigate risk.

From ensuring that important documents are not stored in your basement to installing a sump pump, there are many ways to be proactive such as:

  1. Keep a current and detailed home inventory.
  2. If your neighbourhood is prone to flooding, take precautions throughout your house and property.
  3. Assemble a disaster safety kit.
  4. Create a 72-hour emergency preparedness plan ​for your family.

Rest Easier. Know What’s Covered. 

Talk to your insurance representative to make sure you have appropriate coverage. Be aware that:

  • ​Damage to your home caused by the sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes and appliances is usually covered by all home insurance policies.
  • Historically in Canada, home insurance policies haven’t covered loss or damage caused by overland flood damage, which occurs when bodies of water, such as rivers, dams overflow onto dry land. This has begun to change. Some Canadian insurers have started to offer overland flood coverage for policyholders but this type of coverage is new on the market and not all insurers are offering it. Check with yours to see if it is available and if you qualify for the coverage because if you live in a known flood plain, the coverage may not be available.
  • Water damage in a basement that backs up through sewers, floor drains, toilets and showers maybe covered if your policy covers sewer back up or you may have purchased the coverage as an optional endorsement. So speak to your insurance representative to understand what coverage and limits you have.
  • Damage to homes caused by hail or wind is usually covered. This includes damage caused by flying debris or falling branches or trees, or damage caused by water entering through sudden openings caused by wind or hail.
  • If Comprehensive or All Perils coverage has been purchased on your auto policy, damage to vehicles from wind, hail or water is usually covered. This coverage is not mandatory, so check your policy.
  • In certain circumstances, homeowners who must leave their home due to insurable damage are usually entitled to additional living expenses (ALE) speak to your insurance representative to understand the coverage you purchased.

    Tips For Starting The Claim Process

  • Call your insurance representative or company. Most insurers have a 24-hour claims service. Be as detailed as possible when providing information.
  • List all damaged or destroyed items. If possible, assemble proofs of purchase, photos, receipts and warranties. Take photos of damage incurred and keep damaged items, unless they pose a health hazard.
  • Keep all receipts related to cleanup and living expenses if you’ve been displaced. Ask your insurance representative about what expenses you may be entitled to and for what period of time.

Source: http://www.ibc.ca/nu/disaster/water