Last October, the Northwest Territories announced changes would be coming for distracted driving enforcement, after legislation was approved for stiffer penalties, such as license suspensions, set to take effect on May 1, 2016.
Changes to the Motor Vehicle Act will include the following:
- Drivers holding, operating, or even touching a restricted device such as a cell phone will result in a ticket
- Licence suspensions lasting 24 hours, 7 days and 30 days for their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th distracted driving offences in a two year period
- Fines to jump from $322 to $644 on May 1, if caught driving distracted in school and construction zones, plus three demerit points
- Fines for speeding will be made based on exact number of kilometres over the speed limit
Wally Schumann, Minister of Transportation, said in a statement “These changes to the Motor Vehicles Act will help keep our roadways safe. We are happy to work with our partners in enforcement to meet these new challenges.”
The NWT says since 2012, drivers have been banned from using hand-held devices while driving, and since distracted driving laws kicked into effect four years ago, 1,200 drivers have been convicted. With the addition of driver’s license suspensions, the NWT will be one of the first jurisdictions in Canada to introduce stiffer penalties banning drivers on their subsequent distracted driving infractions.