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Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving

​​Nearly 3 out of 4 Canadian drivers admit to driving distracted.2 You are 23 times more likely to crash if you text while driving.

4 Reasons Why Driving While Distracted (DWD) May Be the New DUI

Distracted driving is potentially as dangerous as driving drunk and is much more common. If you drive while distracted, you should know these facts:

  1. You are 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision if you text while driving and 4 times more likely if you talk on a cellphone (hand-held or hands-free) while driving.3
  2. You may be breaking the law. All provinces in Canada, plus the Yukon and Northwest Territories now have bans in place on using cellphones or hand-held electronic devices while driving. Depending on the legislation, penalties can include hefty fines and, in many cases, demerit points.
  3. A distracted driver may fail to see up to 50% of the available information in the driving environment. You may look but not actually “see” what is happening.4
  4. A study showed that nearly 80% of collisions and 65% of near-collisions involved some form of driver inattention up to three seconds prior to the event.5

Penalties for Distracted Driving Across Canada6

Currently, no province bans drivers from using hands-free cellphones while driving. The following CAA chart summarizes legislation from across Canada about the use of hand-held cellphones while driving and many of the current distracted driving penalties.7

​Province or Territory​Fine(s)​Demerit PointsMore Info
​British Columbia*​$543 - first offence
$888 - second offence
​4Distractions While Driving - Cell Phones and Other Devices
​Alberta**​$287​3Alberta Transportation: Distracted Driving Legislation
​Saskatchewan​$280​4​SGI: Driver Distraction and Inattention
​Manitoba​$2005Manitoba's New Cell Phone Law
​Ontario*​$490 - $10003​Ontario Ministry of Transportation: Distracted Driving
​Quebec​$80 - $100​4Transports Québec: An Act to Amend the Highway Safety Code
​New Brunswick​$172.50​3​New Brunswick Public Safety: Driver distraction
​Nova Scotia​$233.95 - first offence
$348.95 - second offence
$578.95 - subsequent offences
​4Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal: Hands on the Wheel – Eyes on the Road
​Prince Edward Island$500 - $1200​5​PEI Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal: No Cell Phones or Texting
​Newfoundland and Labrador​$100 - $400​4Newfoundland and Labrador Road Users Guide (page 14)
​Yukon​$250​3Motor Vehicles Act - NEW Cell Phone Use Legislative Change
​Northwest Territories***​$322 - $644​3Drive Alive: Cell Phones and Texting
​Nunavut​N/A​N/A​No Law

*British Columbia and Ontario ban the use of hand-held communications and electronic entertainment devices while driving.

**Alberta expands its legislation beyond handheld electronic devices to include other forms of driver distraction, including eating, drinking, reading, writing and personal grooming.

***The fine increases to $644 for distracted driving in school and construction zones.

Note: In British Columbia and Saskatchewan, drivers in the graduated licensing program are prohibited from using hand-held and hands-free devices. 


1CAA, 2010
2Leger Marketing, 2010 
3Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2009 
4Strayer, 2007
5Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2005
6TIRF, 2015

The Cost of Distracted Driving: Josh’s Story