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At the end of August, the Ontario Provincial Police began promoting the message that driving while distracted has caused more deaths on Ontario highways than drunk driving has, yet the criminal punishments associated with drunk driving far outweigh those for texting and driving. If someone from Brampton were convicted of driving over 80, for example, he or she would be banned from driving for at least one year. Moreover, he or she would likely have trouble getting affordable insurance when he or she regained his or her ability to drive.
Someone convicted of distracted driving, however? He or she would only face, at most, a $500 fine.
This year alone, distracted driving has contributed to over 26 percent of Ontario’s 177 fatal accidents. Impaired driving, however, only accounted for 18 percent. So, why is it that Ontario Provincial Police, prosecutors and the public go so far to demonize drunk drivers yet distracted driving is seen as something “everyone” does? If these laws are truly put in place to protect people, distracted driving charges would better reflect the damage they cause to Ontarians.
Unfortunately, the media continues to portray people who drive over 80 as the real criminals, those who are causing the most danger. And because the punishments reflect this, it is crucial that those individuals charged with driving over 80 have access to experienced criminal defence lawyers. Whether the lawyers are able to have the charges dropped for lack of evidence or the punishment lowered to more appropriately fit the crime, legal counsel is important for drunk driving charges.
Source: CTV News, “Distracted driving deadlier than impaired driving, police say ahead of holiday crackdown,” 30 Aug. 2013Ontario Ministry of Transportation, “What are the consequences?” 9 Aug. 2010