Costs of Distracted Driving Go Beyond Fines, Demerit Points, and Injuries: You May Lose Your Insurance

Last Updated:
March 22, 2019

Driving while intoxicated is a social no-no because of the danger one poses to not only themselves but also to other road users. Distracted driving, on the other hand, is still very common and is arguably just as dangerous as drunk driving. So why are drivers and their passengers not taking the danger seriously?

"Since the use of mobile devices while driving continues to be all-too-common and fines do not appear to be sending the message, it may very well be that having insurance rates increase for 3 years will do the trick."

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada 85 per cent of Canadians are concerned about distracted driving but 75 per cent of drivers admit to driving distracted. Drivers know it's a concern but are not willing to change their own behaviour.

In Ontario, the penalty for distracted driving is a fine between $490 and $1,000 as well as 3 demerit points. This has been in place since Bill 31 was set on September 1, 2015 yet drivers continue to ignore the risks.

In addition to the fines set by Bill 31, insurance companies are now implementing their own methods of deterring drivers from being distracted. RSA Insurance has recently announced it now considers a distracted driving charge a "major" conviction. This means that a driver with a distracted driving charge on record within the past three years must find a new market.

Finding a new market with a conviction will almost definitely increase your premiums significantly as many providers offer a claims protection/accident waiver on automobile policies.

Normally, the first accident you are deemed responsible for will not penalize your premium. Therefore, since RSA will non-renew your policy (other companies are expected to follow suit), the new insurance carrier is not obliged to forgive this accident.

While many insurance companies continue to consider a distracted driving charge a minor conviction, this move by RSA will lead the way for most carriers to also treat them as major ones.

4 Reasons Why DWD May Be The New DUI

Driving while distracted (DWD) is potentially as dangerous as driving drunk and is much more common. If you drive while distracted, you should know these facts:

  1. You're 23x more likely to be involved in a collision of you text & drive. You're 4x more likely while talking on a cell phone.
  2. You're breaking the law. Ontario bans the use of hand-held electronic devices while driving with a find between $490 and $1,000 as well as 3 demerit points as of June, 2018.
  3. You may look but you don't see. Distracted drivers fail to see up to 50% of the driving environment.
  4. 80% of collisions involved driver inattention up to 3 seconds prior and 65% of near collisions.