Monday, October 26, 2009

Ontario Drivers' Cell Phone Ban Now in Effect

Hands-free cell phone use is now the law in Ontario.

As noted in our April 23, 2009 post on the new provincial law, which took effect today:
The Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act, 2009, Ontario's new law banning use of cell phones while driving... amends the Highway Traffic Act to provide:

Hand-held devices prohibited

Wireless communication devices

78.1 (1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device or other prescribed device that is capable of receiving or transmitting telephone communications, electronic data, mail or text messages.

Entertainment devices

(2) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held electronic entertainment device or other prescribed device the primary use of which is unrelated to the safe operation of the motor vehicle.

Certain exceptions to this basic rule are also established:

(3) Despite subsections (1) and (2), a person may drive a motor vehicle on a highway while using a device described in those subsections in hands-free mode.

Exceptions

(4) Subsection (1) does not apply to,

(a) the driver of an ambulance, fire department vehicle or police department vehicle;

(b) any other prescribed person or class of persons;

(c) a person holding or using a device prescribed for the purpose of this subsection; or

(d) a person engaged in a prescribed activity or in prescribed conditions or circumstances.

Same

(5) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of the use of a device to contact ambulance, police or fire department emergency services.

Same

(6) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply if all of the following conditions are met:

1. The motor vehicle is off the roadway or is lawfully parked on the roadway.

2. The motor vehicle is not in motion.

3. The motor vehicle is not impeding traffic.

All is not lost - my recently-purchased Motorola T505 Bluetooth hands-free unit adds much value by doubling as an MP3 player, sending tunes (and phone conversations) from my Blackberry to my car stereo, via FM signal.

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