The Regional Municipality of Durham

News Release

Health Department encourages residents to "put down the phone" while driving

WHITBY, ON July 08, 2015 - To help increase awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and the risk that it may pose to loved ones, Durham Region Health Department is promoting an advertising campaign entitled, “Put down the phone”, which will launch during the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

As part of this campaign, three commercials have been developed and will air on CHEX-TV from July 10 to 26. The first commercial is titled, “Man’s best friend”, highlighting a man and his dog, the second is titled, “Who is depending on you?” featuring a mom and her toddler son, while the third, titled “True friends wait”, includes a group of teen friends. All commercials focus on the message of who is important to all of us and the importance of putting down the phone while driving.

Distracted driving is the leading cause of traffic-related deaths in Ontario. Texting while driving increases the risk of a crash by 23 times, as compared to a driver who is focused on the road.  “As many athletes and spectators visit Durham this summer, traffic volumes will be heavier during this time, especially on event days,” explained Janet Vendrig, a public health nurse with the Health Department.

“We all have loved ones counting on us to get them safely to their destination, but many people may not realize that distracted driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. We’re reminding residents to put down their phones while driving and to slow down especially due to this busy time.”

The Highway Traffic Act was recently updated to include new legislation that will see distracted driving fines increased in Ontario to between $300 and $1000, and include the loss of three demerit points.

For more information about distracted driving or to view the videos, visit

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Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:
Glendene Collins - Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999 or

If this information is required in an accessible format, please contact the Accessibility Co-ordinator at 1-800-372-1102 extension 2009.

For more information, please contact Health Department.