Distracted driving fines to jump to $280

A woman uses a cellphone while driving in this file photo. (Fotolia)

A woman uses a cellphone while driving in this file photo. (Fotolia)

Christina Blizzard, Queen's Park Bureau

, Last Updated: 12:19 PM ET

TORONTO — Ontario Transport Minister Glen Murray says the province is looking at heftier fines to crack down on soaring rates of distracted driving — including demerit points for motorists who text, call and e-mail while they're behind the wheel.

Last week Ontario Chief Justice Annemarie Bonkalo signed a judicial order hiking fines from $155 to $280 as of March 18. There are no demerit points attached to the fine, although drivers can be charged with dangerous driving which does come with demerit points.

Judges set the fines within a range.

"There is discretion by judges to set a fine. Justices can raise those fines within the range that the legislature sets," Murray said.


Videos

Photos