Ontario Cell Phone Ban

Cell Phone Ban While Driving Being Considered


Reversing his previous position, Premier McGuinty announced yesterday that he will consider legislation to ban the use of cell phones while driving Ontario's roads. Although other provinces have beaten Ontario to cell phone legislation, McGuinty wants Ontario's ban to be the first to include other distracting gadgets, including as-yet-unknown devices.

Citing safety and the advice of Ontario's police officers, the plan would stop us from talking on our hand-held devices, texting, reading emails on our Blackberries or using the GPS interface as you try to find your destination. Hands-free conversations would still be legal.

If this legislation goes forward, drivers will still be able to apply lipstick and makeup, do a nice dry shave, eat a value meal and drink their double-doubles, all while talking to their friends via Bluetooth accessories.

Research suggests that the phone conversation itself is the distraction, not so much holding the phone. And a quarter of all collisions in the US are due to driver distraction, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, which includes any type of distraction.

Quebec blames cell phones for 24 fatal crashes from 2000 to 2006, and while tragic, that number is undoubtably a drop in the preverbial bucket of total fatal crashes. Although Ontario's numbers are likely higher, it's difficult to believe the biggest culprit is cell phones.

So, while I appreciate Ontario's Premier aiming to make roads safer, any legislation that stops short of requiring two hands on the steering wheel probably falls short.

Photo by Jerrold Litwenenko.


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