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The costs of distracted driving

September 16, 2009

There has been a lot of coverage in the media recently over distracted drivers. With Bill 118 (which outlines the ban on handheld cell phone use while driving in the Province of Ontario) likely to come into effect in October 2009, do you know what penalties you may have to pay if you’re found guilty of talking or texting while driving?

  For starters, if you are found guilty of using a handheld cell phone while driving, the fine could be as high as $500, plus you’ll get an added ticket to your driving record, which could have an impact on your car insurance premium. This infraction applies to more than just using a cell phone while driving. It also includes other electronic devices such as portable GPS units.

  Do note that you will still be able to use your portable GPS unit, provided that you program your destination into your GPS prior to driving with no further manipulation of the device while driving.

  If you are talking or texting and are involved in an auto accident, you could be charged with “Careless/Driving with Undo Care and Attention,” and could face a serious conviction that comes with a fine of up to $1,000. This type of conviction, coupled with all the implications that are tied to a car accident, could impact your automobile insurance premium by thousands of dollars every year for at least six years. Not to mention the risk of injury that you pose to yourself and others on the road.

  If you need to make a call while driving, take a couple of minutes to pull over and make your call while your car is shut off and in park. Driving requires your full time attention. As a driver, you have a responsibility not only to yourself but to your passengers as well - not to mention everyone else on the road.

  By making safe and proactive decisions, the savings on your car insurance alone could be worth the minor inconvenience. As it turns out, the same can be said for shopping around for the lowest rate possible. Just a few minutes is all it takes to visit InsuranceHotline.com, where you can compare offerings from 30 competing insurers to see how much you could save on your car insurance.