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Distracted Driving Ticket Could Increase Your Insurance By $230!

January 20, 2016

distracted women drivingCanada is a vast country, with lots of places to go and wide open roads. But no matter where your nationwide travels may take you, it’s against the law in almost all provinces and territories to drive while distracted. Distracted driving is a form of impaired driving when you think about it; you’re not focused or able to properly assess what’s going on around you, and your reaction time is greatly reduced. It can also be deadly, which is why the fines and demerit points are considerable and the auto insurance implications hefty if caught.

Distracted driving and your insurance rate

While safety is the paramount incentive to not drive distracted, there are fines, demerit points and auto insurance implications to consider as well.

InsuranceHotline.com set out to see how distracted driving could actually impact your wallet. We compared Ontario car insurance quotes for a driver with a clean driving history in six different cities, and then layered in several possible outcomes if you drive while distracted.

1. A hand-held device ticket plus losing an auto insurance discount

Your insurance rate could increase when you have a ticket on your driving record and you could lose any conviction-free discount that you may currently enjoy. This discount is usually worth five to 10 per cent.

With a ticket for “prohibited use of a hand-held” we found that a driver could see an increase of over $230, an 18 per cent increase, to the average lowest premiums quoted.

Average lowest car insurance rate
 
Clean driving history $1238
Distracted driving ticket $1471
 

2. Distracted driving, plus one

If you are caught speeding, making an improper lane change, or causing any other driving infraction while using your hand-held device, a police officer could actually give you two tickets: one for distracted driving and another for the other infraction. This would count as two tickets on your driving record even though the infractions happened at the same time.

Average lowest car insurance rate
 
Clean driving history $1238
Distracted driving and speeding ticket $1739
 

With two tickets now on your previously clean driving record, your auto insurance premiums could increase over $500.

3. Distracted and dangerous

If getting one ticket, or even two tickets, isn’t reason enough to put down the device while driving, here’s one more for you: A police officer can charge you with careless or dangerous driving if you are weaving in and out of your lane, or if you hit another vehicle while on your hand-held resulting in an at-fault collision.

Average lowest car insurance rate
 
Clean driving history $1238
Careless driving ticket $3423
Careless driving and at-fault collision $5831
 

A careless driving conviction will likely mean you’ll be considered a high-risk driver and this will be reflected in your auto insurance premiums for years to come; at least 3 years.

Distracted driving laws across Canada

In addition to the long-term affect distracted driving will have on your auto insurance premiums, there’s also the initial fine. Distracted driving laws in Canada vary by province, and the following chart outlines the penalties:

Province/Territory Minimum Penalties
 
British Columbia $167 fine and 3 demerit points
Alberta $287 fine and 3 demerit points
Saskatchewan $280 fine and 4 demerit points
Manitoba $200 fine and 5 demerit points
Ontario $490 fine and 3 demerit points
Quebec $115 fine and 4 demerit points
New Brunswick $172.50 and 3 demerit points
Nova Scotia $233.95 and 4 demerit points
Prince Edward Island $500 fine and 5 demerit points
Newfoundland & Labrador $100 plus and 4 demerit points
Northwest Territories $322 fine and 3 demerit points
Yukon Territory $250 fine and 3 demerit points
Nunavut N/A

Avoid driving distracted

Taking that call or answering that text, simply isn’t worth the potential consequences. It’s too risky and costly. Avoid temptation and turn off your device while driving, or if you really must reach out to someone, pull over first.