Ontario drivers are facing harsher penalties for distracted driving starting today.

The provincial government introduced the new rules in a bid to improve road safety.

Those convicted of driving while distracted, including texting while behind the wheel, will have their licence suspended for three days.

First-time fines now range from between $615 to $1,000, up from the previous minimum of $490.

Drivers will also be docked three demerit points for a first distracted-driving offence.

Provincial police say the measures are necessary to reinforce the fact that driving while distracted poses a safety risk that many drivers ignore.