The St. Thomas Police have issued their first distracted driving charge under the new steeper penalties. A man has been charged with distracted driving after police say he was typing on the key pad of his phone while stopped at a red light on Tuesday morning (January 8).
The man was issued a $615 ticker and 3 demerit points by the officer. The man will also be given a 3 day license suspension by the Ministry.
As of January 1st both the penalties and the definition of distracted driving changed. Anything that could cause the driver to be less focused on the road can now be considered distracted driving. Eating, reading, wearing headphones and putting on makeup have been included into the definition of distracted driving. This expands on cell phone usage, talking and typing a destination into a GPS which has always been considered distracted driving.
If the accused unsuccessfully challenges the fine in court he could have the fine increased to $1,000 by the Justice of the Peace is convicted.
Last year the police issued 150 distracted driving charges.