TORONTO – Toronto police are targeting drivers in the downtown core this week, as part of the “Don’t Drive Distracted” campaign.

The blitz, which was launched Monday, focuses on dangerous activities associated with drivers who continue to use hand-held devices while driving.

Provincial legislation has been in effect since Oct. 26, 2009, focusing on educating drivers about Ontario’s new road laws and creating specific offences for these types of dangerous driving behaviours.

Legislation states that drivers can only use wireless devices which can be used in a hands-free manner. This includes:

  • A cell phone with an earpiece or headset, which uses voice dialing or is plugged into the vehicle’s sound system
  • A global positioning system (GPS) device which is properly secured to the dashboard or another accessible place in the vehicle
  • A portable audio player plugged into the vehicle’s sound system

911 calls, however, are permitted under the laws.

Police say distracted driving is a major problem on our roads, and it’s something commuters agree on.

A driver named Ian said that on his drive to and from work, he encounters numerous drivers behaving badly.

“I most often see people looking down when they should be looking up. I mean, cars right in front of them and they’re just not paying attention,” he said. “It’s multi-tasking gone wild.”

Police note that other distractions can also contribute to distracted driving. These include eating while behind the wheel, driving with an unsecured pet, slowing down to look at a collision scene, or putting on makeup or brushing your hair.

The initiative wraps up on Sunday, Feb. 17.