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Almost 50 per cent of students admit to texting while driving

Motorists who talk on cell phones, text or engage in other forms of distraction while driving are targets for increased OPP patrols beginning this long weekend.

Ten unmarked police vehicles will take to the roads over the Labour Day long weekend and the OPP anticipates that these additional resources are a much-needed measure to make Ontario roads safer for those who share the road with distracted drivers.

The vehicles are being implemented on the heels of a survey of licenced Ontario students, in which almost 50 per cent of Grade 12 students admitted to texting while driving. As of June 30, 2014, the OPP had laid more than 10,000 charges to Ontario motorists who were caught driving while distracted. Research shows there is a common mindset among these drivers that they can talk on their cell phone, text, or engage in other driver distractions and do so safely.

Thirty-five people have died this year in motor vehicle collisions (within OPP jurisdiction) in which an inattentive driver was a contributing factor. In 2013, 86 people died in distraction-related collisions. This category of road fatality surpassed both impaired-related and speed-related deaths investigated by the OPP last year. Since Ontario’s distracted driving laws were introduced in 2009, the OPP has investigated 374 inattentive-related road deaths (as of August 25, 2014).

“Our officers remain deeply concerned with the number of drivers they see driving distracted, especially those who talk on cell phones or even worse – texting, which is one of the most dangerous activities to engage in while driving.  Regardless of how safe a driver, passenger or pedestrian you may be, you should be equally concerned about the number of motorists who risk your life by not paying full attention to safely sharing the road with you,” said Chief Superintendent Chuck Cox, Commander, OPP Highway Safety Division.

With school buses and pedestrians travelling to and from schools beginning next week, the OPP is urging all motorists who engage in distraction to come to terms with the reality that there is no such thing as a “safe” distracted driver and that all distracted drivers pose a threat on our roads.

With many Ontarians heading out to take advantage of the last summer long weekend of the year, the OPP is reminding the public that they will be highly visible on roads, waterways and trails this weekend.  Police are asking the public to do their part by keeping themselves safe and contributing to an incident-free weekend.

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  1. Paul says:

    I agree cell phones and driving do not mix just like drinking and driving don’t, however Distracted Driving seems pretty vague I wonder just how clear the law is if you consider persons with AD/HD and how the laws applies to them other then cell phone use..hmmmm

  2. The Smart Mark says:

    Well said, Lena.

    If anyone doubts the seriousness of distracted driving, do yourself a favour and search “10-85 Echo” on YouTube. It changed my life.

  3. Lena Veyatelas says:

    Butch Cummings… Your rant shows how ignorant you are of the facts. Distracted driving (not restricted) caused by using cellphones, particularly by texting has increased over the past few years as texting plans became cheaper than talking plans on cells. When someone you care about gets killed by someone who is texting and driving, then I bet you would change your tune. If common sense was indeed common, fines and laws like these would mot be needed. When you get behind the wheel of any vehicle just try and remember that you are now in control of a machine that can kill the minute you let your eyes off the road, focus on something other than driving. You think you are smart enough ® to text while driving? Just remember that vehicular manslaughter can change your life.

  4. R.Richman says:

    I do think that the community policing board is a waste of money we pay the council members who sit on it, they would disagree, pigs to the tough you know. We have no say in how the OPP work for us, any requests questions or suggests are answered with policing has changed. What is this, we pay and have no say. I repeat Quinte police force Picton Belleville Trenton.

  5. Mark says:

    Policing and policing costs in Prince Edward should be an election issue. Ask the candidates to state their position.

  6. Gary says:

    It was raised at the community policing meeting a short time ago by a current councilor candidate that the police tactics in the County are inappropriate. They are treating all as criminals, no walking the street, little personal contact with the community, racing at dangerous speeds, no residential patrols in Picton where speed is a real concern etc. I recall the response was that policing has changed! Well yes it has and not for the betterment of the County citizens that pay dearly for their service.

  7. R.Richman says:

    I would like to relate to all what I have observed one female officer in PEC doing. One day why driving in traffic she had a large container with a handle in her left hand, a spoon in here left hand as she tried to turn to get in the right lane to go down the town hill. Same officer driving down main Street Picton water bottle in one hand eating apple with other, same offier sitting at intersection looking down at her lap, now I am only assuming but I can almost guantee she was texting. She if she reads this she knows who she is, she usually drives a police suv and should set an example not be one. She also is not the only bad cop in PEC. Our motorcycle cop now he is such a treat passing cars on the right for no reason other that he feels he should not have to wait in traffic. The OPP in PEC are out of control and no one waint to do anything about. From what I understand they are the same all over the prov. get rid of them and form a Quinte region police force with Belleville and Trenton or maybe give the RCMP a try. We need something.

  8. Paul says:

    Cell phone jammers are a reality and work well in other applications but are illegal in Canada go figure eh..

  9. Jack Dall says:

    My new car,s radio manual is 136 pages and it is only one part of the information console in the center of the dash. Other sections are as equally complicated and use both the dexterial and vision skills of the driver. Most new cars are similarly equipped .
    I feel that the manufacturers are a major contributor to distractive driving , and it is not just phones
    One positive thing is the GPS , it cannot be adjusted or changed unless the car is in park.
    Perhaps it is time for some of this emerging technology be directed towards the distractive driving issue when the general public are operating their vehicles instead of contributing to it.
    Maybe if the phone will not operate if it is within a certain area around the steering wheel.
    Other devices we use every day have safety measures built into them, riding lawnmowers, chainsaws etc.
    Why not automobiles?

  10. Gary says:

    If Phil can do something to reduce speeds on Johnson and Paul Streets he has my vote. It is way out of control and you never see a cop! It’s not like we have a shortage of cops now do we!

  11. Sam says:

    Phil,

    In Canada, a criminal is a person who is convicted of an offence under The Criminal Code of Canada. While there are a few driving offences (such as impaired operation of a motor vehicle) which are criminal code offences, most are provincial infractions under that Highway Traffic Act. Even if a person is convicted of distracted driving, they are still not criminals.

  12. Butch cummings says:

    I believe increasing the fines for distracted driving is nothing more than a cash grab.
    Take for instance the OPP & all other police
    Forces say all across the province of Ontario
    Can one even hazard to guess how many vehicles the police have on the road at any given time, and I for one have not heared of an incident of a accident caused by a distracted driving police officer.
    Come on the OPP JUST PUT 10 new Vehicles
    On the highways to catch distrActed drivers
    BUT are the POLICE OFFICERS WHO ARE
    TRYING TO CATCH DISTRACTED DRIVERS
    NOT BEING DISTACTED DRIVERS THEMSELVES , come on let’s be honest here
    With all the electronic equipment in virtually
    Any police cruiser I feel it would be impossible
    For these officers to do their jobs without
    Even being the least bit DISTRACTED by
    Looking at their radar speed indicater , I mean
    After a is that not their main reason or one of their main reasons, wether the Police office is a OPP OFFICER OR A CITY OR REGIONAL
    POLICE OFFICER LOOKING FOR SPEEDERS OR IMPAIRED DRIVERS, how could they not be distracted, if DISTRACTED driving CAUSES SO MANY ACCIDENTS
    AND/OR DEATHS ON OUR ROADWAYS
    WHY ARE THERE NOT MORE INCIDENTS
    OF DISTRACTED DRIVING WHICH INVOLVE POLICE VEHICLES and by the way
    The powers to be would have you believe
    That CELL PHONES IN GENERAL ARE THE
    CAUSE OF RESTRICTED DRIVERS, And that is HOGWASH DONT BELIEVE IT.
    Restricted driving has been going on for years
    With 18 Wheelers drivers on their CB radios
    Adjusting their channels , volume & Squelch
    So they can talk wall to wall and tree top tall good buddy, plus numerous 4 wheelers had and still have CB’s and AMATEUR (HAM)RADIOS IN THEIR VEHICLES, yes Sir
    Restricted Driving has been around for at least
    75 Years, but you would think that the emphasis put on it today you would
    Interput that it just started and that folks is why
    We will be paying $1,000 fine by the new year.
    And I know people will ask ” What Is My Point”
    And I will say my point is my opinion and also
    For other people to know, how long this charade has been going on, now the powers to be are saying Distracted Driving has killed
    More people than IMPAIRED DRIVING, I WONDER WHY, and how long it will be before
    We have, DISTRACTED DRIVERS ROAD
    SIDE CHECKS.
    Don’t laugh it could happen.

  13. Phil St-Jean says:

    Maybe my use of those two words to describe people who flagrantly violate the law may be considered harsh. My apologies if I’ve offended habitual distracted drivers. Better to call them simply criminals. As to the speeders on Pictons streets they too are criminals and every effort to report them needs to be made.
    A few more speed traps on streets such as Johnson, where I know it is a serious problem would be appropriate. Any one who sees inappropriate or illegal acts like these should report them, hopefully catch a plate number or two.

  14. Gary says:

    Potential councilors typically do not call people losers and idiots. What about the speeders on Picton residential streets? What are they to be called?

  15. Phil St-Jean says:

    Every day I see numerous drivers using their phones while driving. Yesterday it was a young mother with 2 kids in back. Put the damn phone down. It never ceases to amaze me how many people just don’t get it. Only careless idiots use their cell phones while driving.
    At the beginning of the summer I witnessed a young woman riding a moped down the road in front my house in Bloomfield. I could not believe what I saw. She had her cell phone in her hand texting, only one hand on the bars and to top it off her helmet was strapped to the back of the bike. This shows that some people have no common sense at all. I say suspend their licence and take away the vehicle just like aggressive driving then maybe these losers will get the message. I hope they nail 100 idiots this weekend.

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