Two seconds spent looking at a map or dialing a phone number while driving doubles a driver’s odds of being in a collision, according to Ottawa Police Supt. Charles Bordeleau.
Starting Monday, a new provincial law makes it illegal for drivers to use handheld electronic devices while operating a vehicle.
When the new law is in place, drivers using any handheld device can face fines of up to $500. Police can also charge drivers with careless driving, which includes six demerit points on their license or a two-year driving suspension.
“Enforcement is an important part of the total safety on the road,” Bordeleau said.
Until Feb. 1, police will be focusing on driver education and awareness by handing out information cards explaining the new law.
To coincide with the new law, the city is launching a campaign titled Distractions Impair! Driving Requires Your Full Attention through its Integrated Road Safety Program.
“Most people would never drink and drive, but they may perform distracting activities that could lead to the same impairments as driving under the influence of alcohol,” said River Ward Coun. Maria McRae, chair of the city’s transportation committee.