Fines for distracted driving are increasing to between $1000 and $50,000, and come with a 3 day suspension for first time offenders… Is answering that text about dinner really worth it?

Fines for distracted driving

Glenn Caldwell


Glenn Caldwell
Vice President, Sales
NAL Insurance


The repeated buzz of your phone is too tempting and you begin to wonder, who could be trying to text you?  For a brief second, you decide to glance away from the road and look down at your cell phone that is laying on the seat.  Your wife has been trying to reach you and you quickly scroll through a grocery list she’d like you to pick up on your way home that night. Prime rib roast is on sale at Loblaws

As you regain your focus on the road, you notice that traffic has come to a halt ahead of you.All you can see if red lights. Panic sets in as you jump on the brakes and attempt to gear down…..

The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year and nearly 330,000 injuries. In fact, 1 out of every 4 vehicle related accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving.

New rules coming soon will mean automatic driver’s license suspension for convicted distracted drivers in Ontario, “The law has been passed – it’s now just a matter of time,” said Toronto police Constable Clint Stibbe.

“You, the driver, have to decide, is answering that text message or making that phone call going to be worth it when you can’t buy your way out of this anymore?” Stibbe continued “You will receive a license suspension and you will receive a substantial fine.”

Fines for distracted driving are increasing from a maximum of $1000 to up to $2000 on a second conviction. These fines increase up to $3000 for third time offenders in addition to six demerit points for multiple offences. Offenders will also receive a 3 day license suspension on their first offence, 7 days after two convictions, and 30 days for a third and further conviction.

A motorist convicted of careless driving causing death or bodily harm faces:

-A fine between $2,000 and $50,000

– Imprisonment of up to two years

– A license suspension of up to five years

– Loss of 6 demerit points

In Ontario, it’s against the law to:

operate hand-held communication and electronic entertainment devices while you’re driving

view display screens unrelated to your driving

Examples of hand-held devices include:

iPods and MP3 players


cell phones

smart phones


DVD players

You can use any device that you do not touch, hold or manipulate while driving, other than one touch to activate or deactivate it. Actions like dialing or scrolling through contacts are not allowed.

What is your fleet doing to put a stop to distracted driving?

Many fleets have already implemented or are implementing strict guidelines for cellphone use for all drivers to follow.  NAL Insurance is passionate about protecting all drivers on the road and has recently launched a new free mobile application designed to rank truck drivers by overall driving performance.

The new Good Driver App, is now available for both iPhone and Android users as part of a pilot project.

The app tracks driving behavior, awarding points for miles of good driving and reducing points for critical events that have been found to increase the likelihood of an accident. These events include fast acceleration, hard braking, hard cornering, highway speeding, and distracted driving.

“The majority of our injury claims costs are now coming from Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVAs). We need to develop a ways to reward good drivers who are helping to keep claims costs down and reducing accidents,” said Aaron Lindsay, V.P. of Marketing at NAL Insurance.

The pilot program will run from February 1 – April 30. Drivers and staff can nominate their fleet for the free Pilot Program by sending an email to This Pilot will be initially limited to 20 fleets. The best driver at each participating fleet will receive a $100 Visa gift card. All driving data will be kept private for the pilot, except for each driver’s overall score and ranking which can be attached to a driver’s profile and picture or remain anonymous.

The first fleet to commit to the Pilot was Transpro Freight Systems, a four-time Best Fleets to Drive For carrier.

“At Transpro, safety is a culture not just a department. The Good Driver app coupled along with our recognition programs, will allow us to continue to reward our fleet of Professional Drivers.” said Michael Frolick, director of safety and compliance at Transpro. “With distracted driving being the leading cause of collisions on our roadways, Transpro has committed to road user safety programs and operating safely around the general motoring public. The program offered by NAL is once again, a winning combination that we value and look forward to putting into gear.”

C.A.T. is another company that has committed to join the pilot.

“Our company is very interested in innovative technologies that can help reduce accidents and make our roads safer, particularly those that help to reinforce good driving habits by our professional drivers and therefore we are very happy to be able to trial the Good Driver app,” said Sheldon Hayes, director of safety, compliance and recruitment at C.A.T.

To see all the fleets participating and for more information about the app please visit

The smell of burning rubber as 18 wheels lock up is something that takes a long time to forget. At the same time, you picture the people inside the car ahead of you, a mother and her baby, a family headed on a road trip, or a young college student heading home for the weekend. Thankfully, you managed to get your truck to come to a complete stop, within inches of their rear bumper; but what if you hadn’t?

Yes, the fines are substantial,but I can guarantee that you would never forgive yourself if the outcome had been different.

Stay off your phone…