Police sources have confirmed that Canada’s new driving laws, which received royal assent earlier this year, will officially take effect in every province on February 2020.
Police Service released a new statment today February 6th , to inform the public that “all drivers in Canada can now expect to provide a breath sample when they are pulled over by Canadian police for a traffic stop or Checkstop.”
Therefore, this does not just apply to Checkstops, it also applies to any time you may be pulled over in the city while driving.
If you’re on your phone, speeding, or making any sort of driving infraction, you will need to provide a breath sample the second you roll that window down.
Drivers convicted of distracted driving under the new laws will be punished with a licence suspension, a hefty fine and demerit points. The severity of the punishment increases with the number of subsequent offences committed:
- First offence: 3 days suspension and $4,000 fine
- Second offence: 7 days suspension and $8,000 fine
- Three or more offences: 30 days suspension, $10,000 fine and six demerit points
Police will not be able to seize driver’s licences at roadside. They would have to get the approval of a judge in order to be able to suspend any driver’s licences.
“It will not be a roadside suspension by a police officer, it will be conviction at court for an offence of distracted driving. Once you’re convicted, whether it is through a guilty plea or trial, you will lose your licence for three, seven or 30 days,” Toronto police Const. Clint Stibbe said.
Distracted driving is no longer limited to just texting and making phone calls. The Government of Canada has posted a list of activities that counts as distracted driving and it includes anything from simply holding an electronic device in one’s hand to eating while behind the wheel.
There have also been cases where people have been convicted of distracted driving for seemingly harmless deeds such as wearing earphones or looking at a smart watch while driving. This could open up a few grey areas with regards to the new laws.
According to the government, distracted driving is anything that causes a driver to be less focused on the road ; however, some drivers could argue that such definition is subjective.
The government have announced that they will no longer to let people off with warning if they are caught distracted driving. This means guilty offenders will automatically be slapped with straight fines.
“The time for warnings is certainly gone,” said Sgt. David Rektor. “Warnings served a purpose at the initial stages when people were transitioning to this law, but this law has been in effect for a number of years now. There’s no reason why somebody needs to be distracted.”
The Police of Canada will be closely monitoring the roads moving forward to crackdown on the distracted driving problem.