Guide to Texting and Driving in Ontario: Fines, Consequences & Statistics

In Ontario, texting while driving is a no-go, with tough laws to back it up. If you’re caught, expect a texting and driving ticket that comes with hefty fines and demerit points. These penalties can seriously affect your driving record and send your insurance rates through the roof. 

This quick guide covers everything you need to know about texting and driving ticket in Ontario, from the immediate consequences to the long-term dangers highlighted by startling statistics. If you’ve already got a ticket in hand, we’ve got advice on your next steps.

Remember, steering clear of texting while driving isn’t just about dodging tickets; it’s about keeping Ontario’s roads safe for everyone.


Texting and Driving Statistics Canada: The Numbers Speak Volumes

Navigating the roads while keeping an eye on our phones has become a scary trend across Canada, and the texting and driving statistics are here to prove just how dangerous it can be. Let’s break it down:

  • Nearly half of Canadians (42.9%) think we should completely ban cell phone use while driving. It is a no-brainer, considering the risk. (Road Safety Monitor 2021)
  • Still, 13.1% confess they’re often caught texting behind the wheel. It’s a risky move that’s not going unnoticed. (Road Safety Monitor 2021)
  • In 2019, distracted driving claimed 370 lives in Canada, making up 21% of all road fatalities. Each of these could have been prevented. (Hellosafe)
  • British Columbia is hitting the charts for the wrong reasons, leading the country with 27% of road deaths attributed to distracted driving. That’s not a title any province wants. Ontario has 14.75% of road fatalities attributed to distracted driving. (Hellosafe)
  • The cost? It’s not just emotional. Distracted driving set Canadian car insurance companies back a whopping $102.3 million in 2021, and we’re on track to see those numbers climb. (Hellosafe)
  • Getting caught with your phone in hand can cost you. Fines start at $615, but repeat offenders in Ontario can see fines soar up to $3,000.
  • Despite knowing the dangers, 47% of Canadians admit to texting or using voice-memo features while driving. (CAA)
  • Here’s a shocking one: reading or sending a text while driving is like zooming across a football field blindfolded at 90 km/h. Just imagine that for a second. (CAA)
  • It’s one of the biggest threats to personal safety on the road, yet distracted drivers are 8 times more likely to crash. (CAA)
  • Chatting on the phone, even hands-free, quadruples your risk of an accident. (CAA)
  • Youth at risk: The situation is particularly dire among young drivers. A study by the Canadian Automobile Association revealed that drivers aged 16 to 24 are more likely than any other age group to be involved in a collision due to texting and driving.
  • In parts of Canada, distracted driving fatalities have now outpaced those caused by impaired driving – a sobering thought.
  • Finally, distracted driving, including those glances at your phone, played a role in 19.7% of fatal collisions and 26% of serious injury collisions in 2021. (Road Safety Country Profiles, Canada 2023)
texting while driving statistics Canada

These texting and driving stats lay bare a troubling reality: texting and driving is a critical issue across the country, demanding stricter law enforcement and educational efforts to mitigate its dangers. As legal professionals committed to the safety of Ontario’s roads and beyond, we stress the importance of drivers grasping the real consequences of their actions.

It’s not merely about individual safety but the collective well-being of everyone sharing the road. Recognizing that each time we choose to engage with our phones while driving, we’re risking our own lives and those of others.


Dangers of Texting and Driving You May Not Know About

Texting and driving? Let’s talk real risks. It’s not just about the nagging worry of getting caught and facing a fine. The dangers stretch far beyond a ticket for texting and driving. Every glance at your phone is a gamble that could lead to catastrophic outcomes.

Here’s the lowdown on the actual consequences:

  • Fines: Sure, they’re a hit to your wallet today, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
  • Your driving record: A ticket for texting and driving leaves a mark on your record, making you stand out to insurers and in court for all the wrong reasons.
  • Insurance through the roof: Think your insurance rates are steep now? Getting caught texting behind the wheel could skyrocket them, possibly even land you in the high-risk zone.
  • Accidents: That “quick” glance at your phone can lead to total loss of control. What was a mundane drive can suddenly turn into a nightmare scenario.
  • Injuries: Physical harm from accidents can turn your world upside down, affecting your job, your family, and your way of life.
  • Death: This is the call nobody wants to receive or make.

Texting while driving in Ontario isn’t just frowned upon; it’s illegal. But what exactly does the law say, and how does it affect you as a driver? As experienced traffic ticket lawyers, we’re here to break the legal jargon into something more digestible.

Texting while driving falls under the broader legal category of distracted driving Ontario. It’s regulated under Section 78.1 of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA). This section specifically addresses the use of handheld devices while driving, not just sending a quick text or scrolling through your social media feeds.

What the HTA, section 78.1 States:

  • Prohibited actions: Driving a motor vehicle on any highway while holding or actively using handheld wireless communication devices (e.g., smartphones) or any device capable of receiving or transmitting communication, electronic data, mail, or text messages is illegal.
  • Exemptions: The law provides exceptions for emergency services personnel (police, fire, medical) under certain conditions and situations where drivers are safely parked or pulled over in a manner that does not impede traffic.

What’s Allowed:

  • Hands-free use: Using these devices in a hands-free mode is permitted, provided the device is mounted or secured and not being held while driving.
  • Emergency calls: Making emergency calls to services like 911 is allowed.

What’s Not Allowed:

  • Holding devices: Simply holding a phone or electronic device while driving is against the law, regardless of whether it’s being used for communication.
  • Texting, calling, browsing: While driving, you are prohibited from engaging in any form of active interaction with handheld devices, such as texting, calling, or browsing the Internet.

Yes, even just holding a phone in your hand without using it can land you in hot water under the current laws.


Texting and Driving Fines Ontario: Understanding the Consequences

The penalties for texting while driving in Ontario are strict and escalate with each subsequent offence. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the penalties you can face if caught texting and driving, distinguishing between fully licensed (A to G) drivers and novice drivers (G1, G2, M1, M2).

Penalties & Fines for Texting and Driving Ontario (A to G Drivers)

Once you receive a texting and driving ticket in Ontario, the following penalties apply for A to G drivers:

Type of penaltyFirst convictionSecond convictionThird conviction and subsequent offence
Demerit points3 demerit points6 demerit points6 demerit points
Fine*minimum $615 & up to $1,000minimum $615 & up to $2,000minimum $615 & up to $3,000
Mandatory licence suspension3 days licence suspension7 days licence suspension30 days licence suspension

*Note: The fine includes a victim surcharge and the court fee.

Ontario Texting and Driving Fines & Penalties for Novice Drivers (G1, G2, M1, M2)

For novice drivers holding a G1, G2, M1, or M2 licence, the penalties are as follows, without demerit points but with longer suspensions:

  • Minimum fine: $615 (including victim surcharge and court fee).
  • Driver’s licence suspension:
    • 30 days for the first conviction.
    • 90 days for the second conviction.


How Does Texting While Driving Ticket Influence Insurance?

Regardless of your licence type, having a texting and driving ticket in Ontario on your driving record can prompt your insurance company to increase your premiums for up to 3 years.


How Long Does Texting and Driving Stay on Your Record in Ontario?

In Ontario, a distracted driving conviction, such as for texting and driving, is reflected permanently on your driving record. While the conviction remains on your record indefinitely, the actual demerit points from the offence last for 2 years from the date of the conviction.


Fighting a Texting and Driving Ticket in Ontario

Fighting such charges in Ontario is challenging, given the government’s strict stance. Prosecutors have been instructed to pursue cell phone tickets vigorously, meaning opportunities to reduce demerit points or charges are slim.

Success stories of beating texting and driving tickets do not guarantee future outcomes. Each case is unique, and past victories do not ensure a similar result in your situation. This reality underscores the importance of seeking professional legal advice.


What to Do if You Get Caught Texting and Driving in Ontario?

Given how tricky and tough the government’s distracted driving laws can be, reaching out to a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of these rules is your smartest move if you’ve been slapped with a ticket. That’s where a good texting and driving ticket lawyer can be a game-changer, offering you the guidance you need to navigate the legal maze and a fighting chance to soften the blow of your ticket.

And that’s exactly what we’re here for at X-COPS. When you chat with us, you’re getting more than legal advice; you’re getting a crew that’s all in to help you dodge those big fines, avoid collecting texting and driving demerit points, and keep your insurance rates from hitting the roof.

But don’t just take our word for it. Our Google reviews speak volumes, with countless clients sharing their positive experiences. These reviews highlight our commitment to excellence and our proven track record of defending our clients effectively.

Facing a texting and driving charge in Ontario can be challenging, but you don’t have to go it alone. Let us at X-COPS be your guide out of this pickle. We’re here to help you focus on what’s important – staying safe and keeping your eyes on the road ahead.

FAQ

Here we've prepared a short list of frequently asked questions in order to provide quick answers to anyone who's looking for information associated with the topic. If you need more clarification, please don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

👉How many demerit points for texting and driving in Ontario?

A to G drivers: Texting and driving in Ontario will net you 3 demerit points for a first offence. Subsequent offences can lead to 6 demerit points.

Novice drivers (G1, G2, M1, or M2): no demerit points.

👉What is the fine for texting and driving in Ontario?

Ontario texting and driving fines start at a minimum of $615 for a first conviction if settled out of court and can go up to $1,000. For second convictions, the fine ranges from $615 to $2,000; for third and subsequent offences, it's between $615 and $3,000.

👉Is texting and driving illegal in Canada?

Yes, texting and driving is illegal across Canada, including Ontario. Each province and territory has its own specific regulations and penalties, but all prohibit the use of handheld devices while driving.

👉How much is a ticket for texting and driving?

A ticket for texting and driving in Ontario typically costs $615, including victim surcharge and court fees, for a first offence if settled out of court. The amount can increase based on the number of convictions up to $3,000.

👉What happens if you get caught texting and driving in Ontario?

If caught texting and driving in Ontario, you will face a fine, demerit points, and possible license suspension. There are no demerit points for novice drivers (G1, G2, M1, M2), but suspensions are longer, starting at 30 days for a first conviction.

For fully licensed drivers, a 3-day suspension is applied for a first offence, 7 days for a second offence, and 30 days for third and subsequent offences. Additionally, convictions can lead to increased insurance rates.

Thank you!