It is against the law to talk, text or type using handheld communication/entertainment devices and certain display screens while driving in Ontario.
While you are driving, including when stopped in traffic or at a red light, it is illegal to:
- use a phone or other hand-held wireless communication device to text or call – you can only touch a device to call 911 in an emergency
- use a hand-held electronic entertainment device, such as a tablet or portable gaming console
- view display screens unrelated to driving, such as watching a video
- program a GPS device, except by voice commands
Other actions such as adjusting music, grooming, eating or drinking or even reaching for something are not part of Ontario’s distracted driving law. However, doing any of these activities can still result in you being charged with careless or dangerous driving. Any activity that interferes with your ability to focus on the road should be considered a distraction.
Hands-free devices only: it’s the law
The law permits the use of a hands-free wireless communication device that is firmly attached to the vehicle and controlled by voice only. You are allowed to use the device with Bluetooth, an earpiece or headset.
For more about hands-free devices and Ontario’s distracted driving law, visit the Ministry of Transportation’s Distracted Driving – Frequently Asked Questions webpage (external link).
Did you know?
- Distracted driving injures a person every 30 minutes in Ontario.
- Distracted driving kills – more Canadians die as a result of distracted driving than impaired driving, speeding and not wearing a seatbelt.
- Distracted driving is most often a major conviction which can seriously affect your insurance policy and premiums. For information about fines and penalties, visit Ontario’s distracted driving webpage (external link).
- Texting while driving makes you 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near-crash event compared with non-distracted drivers.
Tips to avoid distracted driving
When you are driving, you should remain focused on the road at all times—everything else can wait. Before you begin driving, remember to:
- turn off or silence your phone.
- put your phone away.
- turn on the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature on your phone or use one of the many downloadable apps that can block incoming calls and texts or send automatic replies to people trying to call or text you.
- set your GPS, music and climate control.
To keep your focus on driving safely:
- pull off the road and park the car in a safe area if you must do anything that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel or your mind away from your driving.
- ask a passenger to assist you in answering a call or text.
Be a road safety champion.
- Talk about distracted driving with your family.
- Model good driving behaviours.
- As a passenger, help the driver make good choices.