Stiffer penal­ties

Fines dou­ble from driv­ing while us­ing a hand­held com­mu­ni­ca­tion de­vice

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE -

Peo­ple con­victed of us­ing hand­held com­mu­ni­ca­tion de­vices while driv­ing will face tougher penal­ties fol­low­ing re­cent amend­ments to Prince Ed­ward Is­land’s High­way Safety Act.

The amend­ments in­crease the fine from be­tween $250 and $500 to be­tween $500 and $1,200. There is also an in­crease in de­merit points. Vi­o­la­tors will now re­ceive five de­merit points, up from three.

“Doc­tors see first­hand the re­sults of dis­tracted driv­ing with col­li­sion vic­tims in our emer­gency de­part­ments and leg­is­la­tion is yet another in­cen­tive to stay fo­cused while driv­ing,” said Dr. Jill Cun­niffe, Med­i­cal So­ci­ety of P.E.I. pres­i­dent. “Driv­ers need to re­mem­ber to keep their eyes on the road or risk life-al­ter­ing con­se­quences.”

Changes to the grad­u­ated driver li­cens­ing reg­u­la­tions will mean any new driv­ers in this pro­gram will have their li­cense sus­pended if con­victed of op­er­at­ing a hand­held com­mu­ni­ca­tion de­vice while driv­ing. There will be a 30-day sus­pen­sion for a first of­fence, and 90 days for any sub­se­quent of­fence.

“It is sad to see col­li­sions on our Is­land roads that could be pre­vented if driv­ers would un­der­stand the dan­gers of dis­tracted and im­paired driv­ing,” said Trans­porta­tion, In­fra­struc­ture and Energy Min­is­ter Paula Biggar. “Dis­tracted driv­ing is just as se­ri­ous as im­paired driv­ing. Us­ing a phone while driv­ing is dan­ger­ous and deadly.”

De­vices are cel­lu­lar phones, Black­Ber­rys, iPhones, 10-4 phones, GPS sys­tems or lap­tops.

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