[Road Safety] Distracted driving deaths up 36% in two years in Ontario

Distracted driving is a major problem that continues to take a heavy toll, in Ontario and across Canada. This report takes a look at the damage this growing phenomenon is doing on our roads.

Keep in mind

  • The number of deaths related to distracted driving has increased by 36% in 2 years in Ontario
  • 18% of fatal collision in Ontario are caused by distracted driving
  • In 2022, 105 Ontarians died as a result of distracted drivers - compared to 348 deaths across Canada
  • Distracted Ontarians face a minimum fine of $616 for a violation, one of the highest penalties in the country

Distracted driving is responsible for 18% of road fatalities in Ontario

Distracted driving refers to any action that takes the driver's attention away from the road, causes him or her to let go of the wheel and divert attention from driving. This unfortunate phenomenon is the cause of many deaths in Ontario, and since 2019 there is an upward trend. For the year 2021, 17.9% of deaths on Ontario roads were caused by distracted driving, compared to 14.4% in 2019.

Source: Government of Ontario

Good to know

Distracted driving does not only affect the distracted driver, fatalities also include other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

In 2022, 105 people died in Ontario due to distracted driving

The consequences of distracted driving are unfortunately very real. According to the data shared by the Government of Ontario, 105 people died as a result of traffic crashes caused by distracted driving in 2022. That's 28 more deaths than in 2020, an increase of 36% in two years.

Source: Government of Ontario

In Canada, distracted driving is the second biggest cause of traffic deaths after speeding

Nationally, how much of a factor is distracted driving in road fatalities? 1,768 Canadians are estimated to have lost their lives in 2021 as a result of a fatal collision. Distracted driving would be responsible for 19.7% of road deaths nationally, or about 348 victims directly related to this infraction in that same year. In comparison, speed is responsible for 24.7% of fatal collisions, and 18% are caused by environmental factors (weather, roadway defects, adverse traffic conditions).

Source: Transport Canada (Government of Canada)

With a minimum fine of $615, Ontario is among the strictest provinces for distracted driving

All Canadian provinces have legislative measures in the form of fines, demerits and licence suspensions to punish distracted driving. The following table shows the different penalties in the provinces of Canada:

ProvinceFineDemeritsLicence suspension
$287 3 DemeritsNo
British Columbia
$5434 DemeritsTwo or more infractions within 12 months can result in a 3-12 month prohibition
Prince Edward Island
$500 - $1 200 5 DemeritsNo
$6725 DemeritsFirst Conviction:
3-day suspension

Subsequent offences:
7-day suspension
New Brunswick
$2805 DemeritsNo
Nova Scotia
First Conviction:

Second Conviction:

Subsequent Conviction:
4 DemeritsNo
First Conviction:
$615 – $1,000

Second Conviction:
$615 – $2,000

Subsequent Conviction:
$615 – $3,000
First Conviction:
3 Demerits

Second Conviction:
6 Demerits

Subsequent Conviction:
6 Demerits
First Conviction:
3-day suspension

Second Conviction:
7-day suspension

Subsequent Conviction:
30-day suspension
$300 - $600 5 DemeritsFirst Conviction:
3-day suspension

Second Conviction:
7-day suspension

Subsequent Conviction:
30-day suspension
$5804 DemeritsPenalties rise incrementally for second and third offences
Newfoundland and Labrador
$300 - $1,0004 DemeritsNo
Source: CAA National

Distracted driving is more than just texting

When driving, the sources of distraction are multiple and can be visual, manual, cognitive and auditory. These sources do not stop at simply sending a text message or email. For everyone's safety, when you are driving you must not be:

distracted driving 1

Source: Canada Drives


In addition to its expert editorial line around insurance and financial products, HelloSafe explores broader topics relating to global consumption in Canada and around the world. The aim is to decipher certain complex subjects for consumers and to provide everyone with the latest information. It is within this framework that HelloSafe regularly carries out studies on trends relating to current personal finance in Canada.

This study compiles the most recent available statistics on the subject of distracted driving in Ontario and Canada from sources such as Transport Canada, the government of Ontario, Statistics Canada and the CAA.

About HelloSafe Canada

HelloSafe is a leading platform for comparing financial products (insurance, credit, investments) in Canada. Powered by its unique and powerful technology, HelloSafe provides users with dozens of free and anonymous comparison tools, calculators and expert, up-to-date content. Its platform empowers users to make the best decisions for their wallets and find the right products at the right prices for them.

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