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Man charged with distracted driving 10 separate times

MARK DOUGLAS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Tuesday, Dec 3rd, 2019

A 57-year-old man is facing his 10th charge of distracted driving after being pulled over for driving with a cellphone to his ear Monday morning.

The man was stopped on the Fort Erie-bound QEW outside Hamilton shortly before 10 a.m.

Const. Kevin Westhead, who made the traffic stop, tells 680 NEWS the driver was doing about 100 km/h in terrible, slippery winter conditions and said he was talking to his mother.

The driver has nine previous distracted driving convictions and the last offense was in 2016. Westhead says the driver indicated he was in the snow removal industry and asked for a “break” since it had been a few years since the last one.

However, the man was issued the harshest ticket possible under the circumstances — a summons to go directly to court to explain himself to a justice of the peace. In this case the driver cannot simply pay the fine, but must present himself in court.

Because the previous nine distracted driving charges came years before the increase in fines and punishments that came into effect this year, Westhead says those nine offences would likely total about $1,500 in fines along with his insurance rates being “absolutely decimated.”

Further, while the justice can suspend the driver’s licence, they cannot revoke it entirely. Westhead says the driver told him he would fight it in court.

According to the Government of Ontario’s website the penalty for being convicted of distracted driving over three times drivers with A to G licences are:

a fine of $615, if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)
a fine of up to $3,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose
six demerit points
30-day suspension

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