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Survey finds 85% of Ontario drivers admit to distracted driving

Distracted driving charges carry 90-day suspension, major insurance hikes

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Eighty-five per cent of Ontario drivers have admitted to distracted driving, according to a report by auto insurance website RATESDOTCA.

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That is 2% higher than the national average.

The report says Ontario drivers have a long way to go to reduce this deadly driving habit.

Distracted driving includes using geo-navigational apps on an unmounted hand-held device, checking messages when stopped at a traffic light, and reaching for an object.

According to RATESDOTCA, 58% of those surveyed in the report believe distracted driving causes more fatalities on the roads than impaired driving.

“Auto insurance providers base premiums on an assortment of risk factors, including a consumer’s driving record. Distracted driving is risky and increases the chance that a driver can get into a fatal accident,” says Tanisha Kishan, RATESDOTCA expert and chartered insurance professional.

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“Getting a distracted driving ticket will therefore lead to higher premiums to cover that risk.”

Motorists convicted of distracted driving face fines of up to $3,000, the loss of six demerit points, and a 90-day suspension or revocation of their drivers’ licenses.

A conviction can also mean higher insurance rates.

RATESDOTCA says a 30-year-old man living in downtown Toronto with a clean driving record would see his insurance rate go from $2,526 a year to $3,119 annually following a conviction for distracted driving.

April is Distracted Driving Month.

Conducted March 4-6 by Leger, the survey of 1,633 Canadians has a margin of error of 2.4%, 19 times out of 20.

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