Ontario is now the fourth province to ban hand-held wireless communication devices or any hand-held electronic entertainment devices while driving. Drivers in Ontario are now prohibited by law to use hand-held cell phones, text or e-mail, or view laptops or DVD players while behind the wheel regardless of being at a stop-light or in heavy traffic.
Drivers who text, type, email, dial, or chat using a prohibited hand-held device can face fines of up to $500, as well as possible demerit points, license suspension and/or imprisonment.
Hands-Free Devices Only
The new law applies only to hand-held wireless communications and hand-held electronic entertainment devices. This means drivers must only operate wireless devices that can be used in a “hands-free” manner.
Hands-Free Devices Include:
• a cell phone with an earpiece or headset using voice dialing or plugged into the vehicle’s sound system
• a global positioning system (GPS) device that is properly secured to the dashboard or another accessible place in the vehicle
• a portable audio player that has been plugged into the vehicle’s sound system.
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Recent studies show that cell phones can be a major source of distraction for many drivers. Cell phone users are four times more likely to be in an accident than a driver focused on the road. Dialing and texting carry the highest degree of risk with all cell phone-related activities.
Ontario joins more than 50 countries worldwide and a growing number of North American jurisdictions that have similar distracted driving legislation including Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, California and New York.
(Copyright: Staying in Touch 2010 – Volume Twenty, Number One)