BY STEVEN WARBURTON
Staff The province will begin imposing harsher penalties on motorists charged with distracted driving, effective Jan. 1, 2019.
“When driving, you are not permitted to use hand-held communication and entertainment devices or view display screens unrelated to the driving task,” according to the Ministry of Transportation’s website.
That means that motorists can only use devices that they don’t touch or manipulate while driving. So if you’re talking on a cell phone, you must be using an earpiece, headset, or blue tooth device. If you are using a GPS, it must be mounted on the dashboard or windshield. You are not allowed to input information while driving.
Indeed, the website even warns motorists that they can’t use such devices when stopped at a traffic light. The only exception is to call police, the fire department, or other emergency services.
If you absolutely must use such a device, you are required to pull off the roadway and “lawfully” park somewhere. Also, the ministry reminds you that you are forbidden from pulling onto the shoulder of a 400-series highway for any reason that is not an emergency.
“If the situation is not an emergency, drivers are advised to exit the freeway at an interchange or pull into the nearest service centre,” says the ministry.
For most drivers, a first conviction will get you three demerit points, a three-day licence suspension, and a fine of up to $1,000.
A second conviction will get you six demerits, a seven-day suspension, and a fine of up to $2,000. Further convictions will get you another six demerits, a 30-day suspension, and fines up to $3,000.
For novice drivers, there will be no demerits but you could get a 30day suspension for a first offence.
FREE PIZZA: Adam Kluver, far right, new owner of the Lancaster Pizzeria, was handing out free pizza slices on Saturday afternoon before Lancaster’s Santa Claus Parade. He is shown with Lancaster resident Laura MacKenzie and South Glengarry’s incoming Deputy-Mayor, Lyle Warden.