Don’t Get Distracted!

budds distracted drivingRingtones and text alerts are designed to grab your attention. Maps need looking at, and when ‘Shuffle’ gives you the wrong song… Of course you need a different one.

These are just a few of the distractions drivers deal with every day. They’re also reasons why the cops have distracted drivers in their sights.

Here are some hard stats, straight from the Government of Ontario

  • Deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000.
  • One person is injured in a distracted-driving collision every half hour.
  • And a driver using a phone is four times more likely to crash than a driver focusing on the road.

That’s why Ontario recently toughened penalties for distracted driving…

And why vehicles from Chevy, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac incorporate technology to help you stay focused on the road ahead.

More than a slap on the wrist

Since January 1 this year, getting caught taking your eyes off the road is more expensive than ever.

Here are the new penalties for distracted driving convictions:

  • First offense: three-day license suspension, three demerits and a fine of $615 or more.
  • Second offense: seven-day suspension, six demerits and a fine of $2,000.
  • Third and subsequent offenses: 30-day suspension, six demerits, and a $3,000 fine.

Novice drivers on G1, G2, M1 or M2 licenses don’t get the demerits but will suffer longer suspensions. A third conviction gets them taken off the Graduated Licensing System.

What counts as distraction?

As the Ontario Ministry of Transportation notes on their “distracted driving” web page, “simply holding a phone or other device while driving is against the law.”

You can, however, use Bluetooth and fixed-mount devices. They also note that “You could face more charges—for careless driving—if you endanger other people because of any kind of distraction.”

A question that often comes up is, “Can I use my phone while stopped at a red light?” The Ministry of Transportation is very clear about this: No—because it can still reduce your awareness of what’s going on around you. For more information, take a look at their Distracted Driving FAQ.

How GM is helping

The best thing to do is turn your phone off and put it in the glovebox or your purse.

However, we all want to stay connected, and sometimes a phone is really useful in the car: maps and navigation are good examples.

To meet this need, GM has incorporated Bluetooth connectivity into their vehicles for many years. More recently, they’ve also added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Using Bluetooth

Bluetooth is short-range wireless technology that lets you “pair” your phone with your car. (If you’re not sure how to “pair” come down to Budds’ Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC and we’ll be happy to help.)

Once “paired” you can receive and make phone calls without taking your hands off the steering wheel. You can have your car read text messages aloud and you can play music from your phone through the car’s speakers. Also, if you use the Waze navigation app you can have directions spoken through the audio system.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

These are tools that let the infotainment screen in your GM vehicle mirror your phone. Plug in your iPhone via the USB port or connect your Android phone and the screen changes to show the same icons and apps you have on your mobile device.

Not every app will show up, but you will get texting functions—hands-free texting that is!—plus music control and maps. And as of late 2018, you also get Waze compatibility.

If you’re unfamiliar with Waze, it’s a popular navigation application that uses real-time data on traffic from users. Enable Waze or the other map apps while using CarPlay or Android Auto and you get a map displayed on the screen in the dashboard. It’s much better than trying to look at a little screen, and definitely less distracting than holding a device.

Go hands-free with GM

If you don’t know by now that using a phone while driving is dangerous, where have you been? But with GM incorporating technologies for safe hands-free use, like Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, why not put them to work? Come talk to us if you’re curious.