A long-awaited ban on the use of cellphones, BlackBerrys and other handheld electronic devices will be coming soon to a road near you.
Ontario is banking on the fact that a new law – which takes effect on Oct. 26 – will dissuade drivers from picking up their mobile devices to talk, text or surf the web.
Starting Feb. 1, after a three-month “education period,” those who ignore the rules could be fined as much as $500.
Although motorists won’t receive any demerit points under this specific law, they could be handed six demerit points if they are charged with the additional offence of careless driving. The latter also carries the possibility of further fines, driver’s licence suspension and even jail time.
Drivers are also banned from using portable video games and DVD players but they are allowed to use their cellphones for 911 calls as well as GPS devices attached to the dashboard.
Hands-free devices aren’t affected by the legislation but are not recommended for use while driving.
The new development hinges on studies that show a driver using a cellphone is four times more likely to be in a crash than a driver focused on the road.
- Under Ontario’s new law, fines of up to $500 can be levied against distracted drivers who text, type, email, dial, or chat using a prohibited hand-held device.
- 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.
- Teens and young people under 35 are the most frequent users of cell phones while driving.
Quick Facts courtesy Ministry of Transportation.