Driving Distractions

When driving a vehicle, road safety is your first responsibility. Driving is a task that requires your full attention every time you get behind the wheel. You must remember to reduce driver distractions and focus on the road. Driver distraction is one of the most common causes of collisions.

Distractions both inside and outside your vehicle can take your attention away from the road. Learn what all those distractions are and how to avoid them.

The use of handheld devices while driving is prohibited in Ontario. Using a hand-held or hands-free cell phone while driving makes a collision four times more likely. In fact, using a cell phone affects what a driver sees, reduces reaction time and changes the way drivers react.

 

Potential driver distractions include:

Technology devices such as smartphones, tablets, MP3 players and headphones;

Personal grooming;

Eating and drinking;

Smoking;

Talking with passengers;

Tending to children or pets;

Adjusting in-vehicle controls (music, climate control and GPS).

 

Consequences

In Ontario, it’s illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial or email using cell phones and other handheld communication and entertainment devices. Drivers who are caught breaking the law face a minimum fine of $490 and plus 3 demerit points upon conviction.

If you have a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence, you’re considered a “novice” or new driver.

A novice drivers’ first conviction of driving distracted will result in a minimum 30-day driver’s licence suspension and a fine for using their cell phones while driving. A third conviction would result in driver’s licence cancellation.

 

Some tips to help stop driver distraction:

Allow phone calls to go to voicemail and/or park at a safe location to make phone calls or check messages;

Attend to personal grooming before leaving;

Review directions and program your GPS before leaving;

Preset your vehicle’s climate control and radio;

Do not engage in emotional or complex conversation;

If you are hungry or thirsty, take a break.

Related Lesson Plans

Grade 7 to 8: Transportation Safety

Grade 9 to 12: What Price DWD?

Digital Media Resources:

Ontario consequences to driving distracted in a variety of scenarios.
Video: Cause and Consequences
Video: Mother and Son

Ministry of Transportation ad to remind drivers to put down the phone.
Video: #putdownthephone