Distracted driving fines almost triple

Jun 20 2014

YELLOWKNIFE (June 20, 2014) – The Department of Transportation has almost tripled the fine distracted drivers will be levied from $115 to $322, which includes a 15% Victim of Crime surcharge.  The substantial increase supports the 17th Assembly priority of contributing to safe communities in the Northwest Territories by reducing vehicle accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

“The Department of Transportation and our law enforcement partners take distracted driving very seriously and those drivers caught using restricted electronic devices will be charged accordingly,” said Minister of Transportation Tom Beaulieu.

Since January 2012, distracted driving provisions in the Motor Vehicles Act have made it illegal to drive while using hand-held electronic devices, such as cell phones, laptops, devices for playing audio or video recordings and handheld global positioning systems among other things.  The objective of the fine increase is to deter drivers who do not drive responsibly and who do not give their full attention to the road.

“Driver safety is a priority for the Department of Transportation,” said Minister Beaulieu.  “Our goal is to eliminate distracted driving in the Northwest Territories.”

The number of distracted drivers in the NWT convicted of this offence continues to increase.  As of March 2014, 458 drivers have been charged. 

Distracted driving facts: 

  • Accident rates double when drivers take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds.
  • A driver who is texting is 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near crash event.
  • 80% of collisions and 65% of near crashes have some form of driver inattention as contributing factors.
  • Driver distraction is a factor in about 4 million motor vehicle crashes in North America each year.
  • Distracted drivers are 3 times more likely to be in a crash than attentive drivers.

For more information:

Patricia Russell
Communications
Department of Transportation
Tel: 867-873-7764  
Cell: 867-447-1368
Email: patricia_russell@gov.nt.ca