Stiffer penalties for distracted driving introduced last year in Ontario didn’t stop Canadians from picking up their phones while driving, but it certainly benefitted to the City of Ottawa: During this year, Ottawa police have issued more than $1 million in fines, with one officer alone handing out $302,330 worth of citations, reports CBC News.
Alongside the monetary fine, drivers holding an A, B, C, D, E, F, and/or G licence will also get three demerit points, which some Canadians falsely hope to erase by taking their case to the court. “But the court system cannot touch the demerit points—they are mandated by the Ministry of Transportation,” said Sgt. Mark Gatien of the traffic enforcement unit.
According to Gatien, people simply don’t seem to understand the consequences of distracted driving.
The Ottawa police’s work is aided by a computer system equipped on some cars that uses three cameras and it is able to scan and read up to 5,000 licence plates per hour, comparing the licence plates of passing cars against a database of expired, suspended, and otherwise flagged vehicle registrations.
Gatien says if you are caught using your phone while driving, no matter what your excuse may be, you’ll receive an offence, as his officers have been instructed not to simply give warnings.