Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is...

What happens if you drive while distracted?

Distracted driving can cost you and others in the form of expensive fines, and even injury or death. No matter how much driving experience you have, a lot can happen--and happen fast--when you are not focused on the road.


It is against the law to use hand-held communication and electronic entertainment devices while you are driving. This means you cannot talk or type on cell phones, iPods or MP3 players, GPS, laptops, and DVD players while driving.

It is also against the law to view the display screens unrelated to your driving. These display screens can include laptops, DVD players, and other display screens unrelated to driving.

A distracted driving charge can cost you:

  • A fine of $490 and 3 demerit points;
  • A suspended or cancelled license if you are a novice (G1, G2, M1, or M2) driver.

Are you a distracted driver?

Any time you take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and/or your attention away from the task of driving, you are a distracted driver.

Doing any of the following activities while driving is distracting and dangerous:

  • Answering a phone call (even on a hands-free device)
  • Reading a text message
  • Sending a text message
  • Checking your email
  • Taking a "selfie"
  • Watching a video
  • Eating and drinking
  • Doing your hair and makeup
  • Reaching for something
  • Attending/talking to passengers

What can you do?

Good drivers just drive. You can break the habit.

Here are some tips you can use to break the habit and avoid the costs of distracted driving:

Plan ahead - give yourself extra time complete any urgent tasks before getting into the car
(E.g. map out your route and select your favourite playlist ahead of time; wake up earlier to do your hair or eat breakfast)


Prepare others - let others know you cannot be reached while driving
(E.g. record an outgoing message on your phone that tells callers you are on the road; ask a passenger to respond to a call, text, or email for you)


Put away the distractions - remove potential distractions in your car
(E.g. turn off your phone and store it in the glove box; ensure children have what they need in a reachable distance)


Pull over and park - if you must tend to a distraction, pull over and put your car in park
(E.g. find a safe parking lot or a service centre "text stop") 

Region of Waterloo Public Health has created a toolkit for workplaces on distracted driving that focuses on the dangers of cell phone use and the need for workplace policies.

A wide range of strategies to raise awareness, build skills, create supportive environments and develop a comprehensive cell phone policy are presented that can be tailored to the unique structure and environmental factors of every workplace.

Links and Resources

To learn more about distracted driving call 519-575-4400 or visit:

Ministry of Transportation

Public Health Ontario