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Put the phone down

The regional health department is reminding drivers to put the phone down when they’re behind the wheel.

May 17 through 23 marks National Road Safety Week, and the health department is reminding residents of the dangers of distracted driving, the leading cause of traffic-related deaths in the province, according to Parachute Canada. As well, texting behind the wheel increases the risk of a crash by 23 times.

“We all have loved ones counting on us to get them safely to their destination and distracted driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving,” states Cynthia Rogers, a public health nurse, in a news release.

“Many people may not be aware, but reading a text is just as dangerous as sending one. We’re reminding residents to put down their phones while driving and also remember to slow down, as many people potentially head out over the upcoming long weekend.”

Distracted driving can also be hard on the wallet as well, with fines between $300 and $1,000 under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, as well as three demerit points.

For more information about distracted driving, please call the Durham Health Connection Line at 1-800-841-2729, or visit durham.ca/thinkanddrive.