Monday, October 27, 2008

More on Ontario's Pending Driver's Cell Phone Ban

The available information is still pretty thin on the Ontario legislation that may be introduced this week, but the Globe and Mail does offers these tidbits:

The Ontario government may table a bill to ban drivers from using electronic devices as early as Tuesday, a move that would see the province follow Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, which have all banned drivers from chatting and texting on handheld devices while on the road.

...the Ontario Medical Association has concluded that driving and talking on a cellphone creates the same risk for the driver as being at the legal limit for alcohol consumption. OMA research, conducted in September, found that talking on cellphones impaired drivers' visual concentration, the speed at which they process information and their reaction time. Some drivers also abandoned checking their mirrors entirely while on the phone.

Premier Dalton McGuinty announced in May that he was considering legislation that would ban all hand-held devices, not just cellphones, forcing drivers to use headsets or speaker systems instead. Police officials had advised Mr. McGuinty to ban all gadgets that have the potential to distract multitasking drivers, and that would include GPS navigation systems that see drivers typing in street addresses on screens mounted in their cars. The Premier had also asked Mr. Bradley to look at “next generation” legislation that would take into account electronic devices that are still on the drawing board.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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