[TPS] – Media advisory, Monday, February 13, 2012 to Sunday, February 19, 2012, “Don’t Drive Distracted”‏

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Media advisory, Monday, February 13, 2012, to Sunday, February 19, 2012, “Don’t Drive Distracted”

Sunday, February 12, 2012 – 1:00 PM
Traffic Services

The Toronto Police Service will be launching the “Don’t Drive Distracted” campaign, starting Monday, February 13, 2012, concluding on Sunday, February 19, 2012.

This traffic-safety initiative highlights the dangerous activities associated with drivers who continue to use hand-held cell phones, and hand-held communications and entertainment devices while driving.

The provincial legislation came into effect on October 26, 2009, focusing on educating drivers about Ontario’s new road laws and creating specific offences for this dangerous-driving behaviour.

The legislation states that drivers must use only wireless devices that can be used in a hands-free manner:
– a cell phone with an earpiece or headset using voice dialing or plugged into the vehicle’s sound system
– a global positioning system (GPS) device that is properly secured to the dashboard or another accessible place in the vehicle
– a portable audio player that has been plugged into the vehicle’s sound system

9 -1-1 calls for emergency assistance are permitted under the legislation.

Distracted driving is any action a driver engages in that does not have to do with the operation of a vehicle. Some actions may not be considered distractions by some drivers and we need to understand that these distractions are commonplace on today’s roads and fall into three categories.

These three distraction categories are:
Manual Distractions – when you take your hands off the wheel
Visual Distractions – removing your eyes from the sight of the road
Cognitive Distractions – being distracted by thinking about something else

The hands-free distracted-driving law makes it illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial or email using hand-held communications and entertainment devices.

There are other distractions that can also affect a driver’s focus. Some common ones to consider:
– eating while driving
– driving with an unsecured pet
– slowing down to look at a collision scene
– applying cosmetics or personal grooming

Although it may be unintentional, the charges for engaging in this kind of distractive behavior can be considered careless or even dangerous, when drivers put both themselves and others at risk of injury.

Constable Tony Vella, Corporate Communications, for Constable Hugh Smith, Traffic Services

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