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Stiffer penalties for distracted driving, speeding coming to NWT

Forthcoming changes to the NWT’s Motor Vehicle Act include stiffer penalties for distracted driving and speeding.

As of May 1, fines can be applied to drivers who are caught holding, operating or even touching a restricted device such as a cellphone.

More Information: GNWT Department Of Transportation

Drivers can also have their licence suspended if they’re caught using their cellphones on multiple occasions within a two-year period.

Territorial transportation minister Wally Schumann.
Territorial transportation minister Wally Schumann.

Second, third and fourth infractions can result in a suspension lasting 24 hours, seven days or 30 days respectively.

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At the same time, fines for people driving distracted in school and construction zones will double from $322 to $644.

Fines for speeding are also changing. Starting May 1, drivers will be fined in accordance with the exact number of kilometers they’re travelling over the speed limit.

“These changes to the Motor Vehicles Act will help keep our roadways safe,” said territorial transportation minister Wally Schumann in a statement.

“We are happy to work with our partners in enforcement to meet these new challenges.”

The NWT is one of the first jurisdictions in the country to introduce licence suspensions for distracted driving.

Transportation officials say approximately 1,200 drivers have been convicted of distracted driving in the territory since the legislation came into effect in 2012.

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