Tougher penalties for distracted driving begin Jan. 1

   OPP officers are reminding drivers that the penalties for texting and driving are increasing.

The Ontario government is introducing a new mandatory three-day driver's license suspension upon first conviction for distracted driving effective Jan. 1.

"Our goal is to keep our roadways safe for everyone and the increase in penalties is indicative ‎that many drivers continue to disregard this law,” says Inspector Glenn Miller. “Driving remains a privilege and upon conviction of this offence you will lose your driver's licence.”

The new minimum fine for a first offence of distracted driving will increase to $615 if settled out of court, up from the current minimum of $490, with a maximum fine of up to $1,000. That first offence will also come with three demerit points.