Canada is cracking down on its distracted driving problem with the rollout of stricter laws that impose harsher penalties and heftier fines on guilty offenders. Such measures are more than necessary now, as distracted driving has claimed more lives than impaired driving in provinces like Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and New Brunswick.
But distracted driving is more than just using your cell phone while behind the wheel — according to the official RCMP ,distracted driving is anything that can lead to a driver’s impaired judgement while on the road, including:
- Talking on a cellphone
- Reading (books, maps, newspapers)
- Personal grooming
- Adjusting the radio/CD or playing extremely loud music
- Talking to passengers while fatigued
- Eating and driving
On the issue of eating and drinking while driving, the RCMP said that “it’s best to avoid eating and drinking while driving” and recommends that “if you need to take a drink, wait until you are stopped at a red light.”
Last year, the BC RCMP released a tweet reminding Canadians that eating a bowl of soup while driving could lead to a $1000 fine and adds six demerits to one’s record.
Though each province has its own specific laws regarding distracted driving, the RCMP notes that in most provinces, fines of over $1500 and up to 4 demerit points with license suspension are possible.
The recent policies regarding eating and drinking while driving have been highly controversial since their implementation. People who regularly go to drive-thrus or utilize their cupholders are particularly triggered by the law, saying that it’s still possible to keep one’s eyes on the road and a hand on the wheel while occasionally snacking with the other.
Woman with food in one hand while steering with the other
Distracted driving caused more fatalities than impaired driving in multiple provinces last year