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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a road safety priority due to increased fatalities. In Ontario, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000. Holding your phone or other device while driving is against the law.


The Law

It’s against the law to use hand-held communication (e.g. your phone) and electronic entertainment devices (e.g. DVD player, e-reader) while driving.

You can use:

  • a hands-free device (e.g. Bluetooth) but only to turn it on and off
  • a mounted device (e.g. phone, GPS) as long as it is secure – not moving around while driving

If convicted, the penalty you face depends on the kind of licence you hold and how long you’ve been driving. Penalties include licence suspension and loss of demerit points. First-time fines are $615.00 to $1,000.00.

Buckle Up. Phone Down. Slow Down.

Distracted driving is anything that takes the driver’s attention away from focusing on the road.

Types of distraction include:

  1. Visual (taking your eyes off the road)
  2. Manual (taking your hands off the wheel)
  3. Cognitive (taking your mind off the driving task)
  4. Internal (coming from within the vehicle, such as children crying, pets, etc.)
  5. External (coming from outside the vehicle, such as other vehicles, congested streets, etc.)
Image of a cell phone and car seat buckle


Did you know?

  • Texting while driving is a visual, manual and cognitive distraction
  • Talking on a hands-free device is a cognitive distraction
  • Drivers who use a cell phone while driving are 4 times more likely to crash than those who is focus on the road.

Decide what to do with your phone before you drive and make a plan.

Before I drive I will:

  • Turn of my phone before I get in the car.
  • Record outgoing message for callers.
  • Use my app to block messages.
  • Ask passenger to take a call or respond.
  • Pull over to safe area to respond.
  • Silence notifications.
Date of creation: February 28, 2013
Last modified on: January 10, 2019


1Ministry of Transportation (Distracted Driving). Retrieved from
2Parachute Canada (Distracted Driving). Retrieved from