Higher distracted driving fines needed: McGimpsey

County council meets to start the 2018 budget process on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017. Coun. Bill McGimpsey believes the county should lobby the province to increase fines for distracted driving. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

SD&G – A councillor is hoping the United Counties of SD&G will lobby the province to increase fines for distracted driving.

Coun. Bill McGimpsey made the remark Monday as the county was reviewing the 2018 budget for Provincial Offences Act (POA) court services.

“I can catch 10 people (distracted drivers) a day just in the City of Cornwall,” McGimpsey said.

The county is expected to be dealing with fewer tickets but it anticipating the Ontario government increase fines for certain infractions through Bill 158 – Protecting Vulnerable Road Users Act – once it’s passed.

The budget calls for $3.1 million in revenue from fines.

Due to the “epidemic level” of crashes on Highway 401 – some attributable to distracted driving — McGimpsey said an increase the fines would “solve our budget crisis.”

The fine for distracted driving right now is $490.

Coun. Eric Duncan also proposed a system of having a tribunal move from township to township to resolve traffic tickets in order to unclog the court system.