Tougher penalties for Nova Scotia drivers caught texting or using a hand-held cellphone will kick in February 1, 2015.

"Put your phone away or turn it off before you start to drive," said Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Geoff MacLellan. "There is no call or text worth losing a life. Don't take the chance. Pay attention to the road, not the phone."

Beginning February 1, first time offenders will get a ticket of $233.95 (up from $176.45) and repeat offenders will face fines of as much as $578.95. More than just a fine, drivers will also get four demerit points if convicted.

About Nova Scotia Demerit Points
In Nova Scotia, experienced drivers will lose their licence for 6 months once there are 10 points accumulated and for drivers with a learner's licence all it takes is 4 demerit points to result in a 6-month licence suspension.

Distracted Driving In Nova Scotia And Your Car Insurance

Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. It's not only safer, but it will save you money in the long run because your driving record matters. Your driving record is one of the most influential factors in determining your insurance rate, and tickets make up one of the components of your driving record. With a less than perfect driving history you will likely pay more for your car insurance coverage.

We ran some quotes. The difference in the lowest car insurance quote obtained for a driver with 15 years' experience living in Halifax, with and without a ticket for "Use of a cellular phone while driving," was just over $200.

Safety comes first, of course, but don't forget the effect that driving distracted and its potential consequences can have on your Nova Scotia car insurance rates. Drivers without tickets typically pay less for auto insurance. Don't risk a ticket, an increase in car insurance rates, or worse, a collision. Focus on driving and if you must use the phone use a hands-free device, and if unavailable, pull over to the side of the road.

Learn more about distracted driving. Visited KANETIX's DistractedToDeath.

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