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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 11:40 AM   #1
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Cellphone ban while driving in Ontario: includes iPods

TheStar.com | Ontario | Cellphone ban hits iPods

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Originally Posted by The Star
Drivers face $500 fines under province's proposed law on using hand-held devices

Oct 29, 2008 04:30 AM
Comments on this story (73)
TANYA TALAGA
ROB FERGUSON
QUEEN'S PARK BUREAU
Motorists who change tunes on their hand-held iPods or MP3 players at the wheel face fines of up to $500 under Ontario's proposed new "distracted driving" law.

The legislation introduced yesterday also takes aim at cellphone calls that aren't hands-free, portable DVD and video game players visible to the driver, BlackBerrys and hand-held global positioning systems.

Drivers need two hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road at all times to avoid potentially deadly traffic mishaps, said Transportation Minister Jim Bradley, calling the fines "significant."

Don't even think, for example, about making a hand-held cellphone call in a traffic jam or at a red light because hand-held devices can only be used when the driver has "safely" pulled off the road, Bradley added.

"If I want to change stations on the radio ... I can do so; that is not prohibited. But if I were holding a hand-held device and did that, I would be in trouble."

Asked if a motorist could skirt the law by taping his iPod to the dashboard, Bradley wasn't sure.

"I would have to look at that one," Bradley told reporters, noting that the proposed law is fairly general with details to come in regulations that are being developed.

Calls to 911 are exempt as are calls from first responders on duty.

The new law will help "put the brakes" on the growing tendency for drivers to text, email, chat, check directions or otherwise fiddle with their gadgets, Bradley said.

"Deep down, we all know it is dangerous to use them while driving," Bradley told a news conference at Queen's Park, quoting Transport Canada statistics that distractions are contributing factors in 20 per cent of all collisions.

To illustrate his point, he hopped into a driving simulator while making a cellphone call with one hand on the wheel, ended up going the wrong way and crashed into a wall.

"With the use of cellphones and other hand-held electronic devices on the rise, we must deal with this issue now," Bradley later said in the Legislature, which will debate the bill in the coming weeks before it goes to a final vote.

The problem is that the government waited too long before bringing the bill forward, said NDP Leader Howard Hampton.

"You've had report after report after report over the last five years of the McGuinty government that show people using their cellphones or BlackBerrys while driving are not only a significant risk to themselves but a significant risk to other drivers."

Similar bans are already in place in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador and more than 50 countries around the world, including the states of New York and California.

Ontario's law was applauded by the Canadian Automobile Association, the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Ontario Medical Association, although the OMA is worried that even hands-free cellphone calls are too distracting for motorists.

"We're happy this bill has opened a dialogue ... They'll think about talking in the car, whether or not it's hands-free," said Dr. Suzanne Strasberg, the group's president-elect.

She wants motorists to think twice about how they handle any distractions behind the wheel, whether it's drinking coffee, eating, applying makeup or using a hand-held device.

Bradley agreed the government needs to do more to educate drivers on that front. Both he and a deputy commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police backed the OMA's view.

"When drivers get behind the wheel of a car, that's not a part-time job ... it requires every one of your faculties," Bradley said, urging drivers to "just pull over" for any task that takes their eyes off the road.

The government decided to allow hands-free cell calls through headsets or earpieces because the law would be difficult to enforce otherwise it would be impossible for police to tell if the motorist was talking to a passenger, rehearsing a speech or singing along with the car radio, Bradley said.
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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 11:56 AM   #2
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Good. Too bad it doesn't include bicycles as well.
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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 12:38 PM   #3
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Cops should confiscate the device as well, THAT would be cool.

Actually they should confiscate it and smash it on the ground and make the offender pick up the pieces.
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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 01:24 PM   #4
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Good. Too bad it doesn't include bicycles as well.
It should, bicycles are subject to most other HTA offences. The fact that it also make sense should mean that it doesn't.

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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 02:31 PM   #5
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This is all crap. Even if you are in traffic at a complete stop you would be breaking the law. I like to see any person agreeing with this law, and see if they ever, ever use the cell phone while in the car.

I agree people drive slow and bad while using the cell phone. Tickets shoudl be given to people seen driving too slow or eratic should be given a ticket not everyone else.

If there was a smiley with a finger I put oen here.
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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 03:47 PM   #6
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This is all crap. Even if you are in traffic at a complete stop you would be breaking the law.
I think you misunderstand the law.

You can use cell phones all you want -- you just have to use them hands-free.

As for iPods, most cars these days have controls for iPod built-in, and a lot of vehicles can have this technology retrofitted.

I personally just pick a playlist before I get started, thus I don't need to fool with it once I get going.
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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 05:43 PM   #7
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about time!!!!
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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 10:26 PM   #8
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I'm with Chas... I think this is a good law. Really the only people who are going to get upset are the ones who are currently doing (or plan to do) what the law says not to.

Afterall, how is a driver focusing more on driving at all a bad thing??
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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 10:54 PM   #9
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Having been driving for 2.5 years for work, I can say 9 times out of 10 when someone was doing something STUPID (not signalling, driving really slow or eradic) it was because they had a cell phone in their hand.

It'd be great if those people were caught and fined.. but lets be realistic.. cops are rarely there at those times when you wish they were.
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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 11:27 PM   #10
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Having been driving for 2.5 years for work, I can say 9 times out of 10 when someone was doing something STUPID (not signalling, driving really slow or eradic) it was because they had a cell phone in their hand.

It'd be great if those people were caught and fined.. but lets be realistic.. cops are rarely there at those times when you wish they were.
That's it? 2.5 years? I have been doing it for much longer then that, and let me tell you, I have seen the same thing happen with idiots on their Bluetooth Headsets as well.

This is what I don't get from most of you and this stupid Cell Phone Ban Bill put forth.

I have witnessed just as many drivers using Bluetooth headsets who act the same way as a driver who holds a cell phone in their hand and drives a motor vehicle. So what is the difference here?

I can give you examples of drivers who use a Bluetooth headset that are also dangerous drivers:

1. Now they can truly be multitasking by talking, and doing things with their hands while driving as it frees up one hand

2. Drivers who don't see the person who has the right away while crossing an intersection at the lights due to too involved into the cellphone conversation over Bluetooth headset. In fact, most of these idiots don't even look right or left when turning right or left at an intersection when on the bluetooth headsets.

3. Not signaling while driving on road or 400 series highways

4. Drivers on bluetooth headsets who have lost all sense of where they are as they flair and wave their arms all around while driving taking their hands OFF the steering wheel all together and drive too slow on the highway causing traffic jams.

5. Drivers who use bluetooth headsets and don't hear an emergency vehicle behind them with sirens on or notice the emergency lights on. That's freaking annoying as hell I tell you.

All other distractions mentioned in my other post with the list plus more.

If we are going to ban cellphone use while driving, then it should be for ALL ways and uses period!

Anyone who argues that bluetooth headsets and all other hands free methods is SAFER while driving has not seen or experienced the level of driving I have over the years and witnessed it all, from inside a vehicle and while walking.

It's like saying to a driver that it is ok to drink before you drive, but just don't drink inside your vehicle while driving. Obviously they were smart with that law when they passed it and banned drinking all together prior to operating a motor vehicle.
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