Quick actions can have long-lasting consequences

Published on
April 2, 2024
Parking, roads, traffic and transit
Male hands with tattoos texting while the man is driving but no hands are on the steering wheel/Mains masculines tatouées envoyant des textos alors que l’homme est au volant, mais qu’aucune main n’y est posée

Feature story

Sending that text might be fast but collisions happen even faster and can be life-altering or life-ending. In Ottawa between 2017 and 2021, 79 people were involved in fatal or major injury collisions related to distracted driving. Every text can wait.

Here are some strategies to avoid the temptation to use your phone or smartwatch:

  • Plan your trip ahead so you don’t need to check for directions enroute
  • Set your device to ‘Do not disturb’ while you’re driving
  • If you have to check your device or respond, pull over somewhere safe, well off the road
  • If you have a passenger, give them control of your device

A first conviction for distracted driving includes a fine of up to $1,000, three demerit points and a three-day license suspension. For novice drivers, with an M1, M2, G1 or G2 class license, the suspension is 30 days.

There's a longer-term risk with distracted driving. According to Parachute Canada, a national charity dedicated to injury prevention, when children see their parents or caregivers using phones while driving it increases the likelihood that the children will text and drive when they grow up. You need to lead by example. 


We are all vulnerable to distractions, especially from our phones and smartwatches. Set a good example and eliminate distractions while you’re behind the wheel. You will avoid the costs of a distracted driving conviction and the personal tragedy of a fatal or major injury collision.

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