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July 16, 2015
For immediate release

New legislation toughens penalties for distracted driving

Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy

Recent amendments to the Highway Safety Act create tougher penalties for those caught driving while using handheld communication devices, says Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Paula Biggar.

“It is sad to see collisions on our Island roads that could be prevented if drivers would understand the dangers of distracted and impaired driving,” said Minister Biggar. “Distracted driving is just as serious as impaired driving. Using a phone while driving is dangerous and deadly.”

The amended Highway Safety Act incre ases the fine for operating a vehicle while using a handheld communication device from between $250-500 to between $500-$1200. There is also an increase in demerit points. Violators will now receive five demerit points, up from three demerit points.

Changes to the Graduated Driver Licensing Regulations will mean any new drivers in this program will have their license suspended if convicted of an offence for operating a handheld communication device while driving. There will be a 30 day driver license suspension for a first offence, and for any subsequent offence, they will lose their license for 90 days.

“Doctors see firsthand the results of distracted driving with collision victims in our emergency departments and legislation is yet another incentive to stay focused while driving,” noted Dr. Jill Cunniffe, President of the Medical Society of PEI. “Drivers need to remember to keep their eyes on the road or risk life-altering consequences.”

To learn more about the penalties for distracted or impaired driving, visit

Media Contact: Katie MacDonald
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