We beat these charges on a regular basis. As long as you didn't admit to the officer that you touched it, Greg can likely beat it. This is a major infraction to Insurance companies if convicted, regardless of what class of licence you hold. You will either get dropped or have to go to facility (high risk) rates if convicted of this charge. You definitely want us to help you with this one.
New Distracted Driving Laws took effect in Ontario on January 01, 2019.
Anyone with an Ontario Drivers Licence Class: A, B, C, D, E, F, G and/or M Licence will now face these penalties if convicted of Distracted Driving.
You're only allowed to “touch” a hand held communication device (cell phone) in two circumstances while operating a vehicle:
1) Calling 9-1-1 in an Emergency Situation.
2) When the driver is lawfully parked or has safely pulled off the roadway and is not impeding traffic.
Here is the exact wording in the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario:
78.1 Hand-held devices prohibited – (1) Wireless communication devices – No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device or other prescribed device that is capable of receiving or transmitting telephone communications, electronic data, mail or text messages.
You can't touch a cell phone (even at a red light and stopped in traffic or at a stop sign) for any reason. Saying you were “just plugging in the power cord” or “just moving it to the cup holder” is an admission of guilt.
If you didn't admit to touching the phone, then it's your word vs. the officer's. We beat this charge on a regular basis at TRAFFIC STOP® as many clients of ours were wrongfully accused of touching the cell phone when in fact they were touching something else, and the courts have agreed with us at trial.
Found below are the exemptions to the law, the one most applicable exemption to most of our readers is as follows “allowing the touching of a button” on a cell phone/hand held communication device while driving.
Regulation 366/09 of the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario:
Exemption for pressing buttons – (1) A person may drive a motor vehicle on a highway while pressing a button on a hand held wireless communication device to make, answer or end a cell phone call or to transmit or receive voice communication on a two-way radio if the device is placed securely in or mounted to the motor vehicle so that it does not move while the vehicle is in motion and the driver can see it at a quick glance and easily reach it without adjusting his or her driving position.
(2) A person may drive a motor vehicle on a highway while pressing a button on a device that is worn on his or her head or hung over or placed inside his or her ear or is attached to his or her clothing and is linked to a hand-held wireless communication device to make, answer or end a cell phone call or to transmit or receive voice communication on a two-way radio or hand microphone or portable radio.
Novice Drivers Beware!
Are you a novice driver? (G1, G2, M1, M2) If you're convicted of a hand held communication device charge in court, you will face the same monetary fines as fully licenced drivers do, however you won't get any demerit points. Instead, you will lose your licence for 30 days for a first conviction, 90 days for a second conviction, and lose your novice licence for a third conviction. You will have to start all over at the written and vision testing for a G1 or M1 novice licence.
Be aware, even if you're a GM1, GM2 etc or any Full Licence class with an M1 or M2 attached you're deemed to be a NOVICE driver. The M.T.O. don't separate your licence, you don't just get suspended on the motorcycle licence - you lose it all. Same goes if you're a full M but have a G1 or G2 (MG1, MG2). This will cause your insurance company to drop you, or your rates to skyrocket if they keep you.
Click on this link to learn more about Distracted Driving.