TORONTO, April 22 2009 – Legislation to make the province’s roads safer by prohibiting the use of hand-held devices to talk, text or e-mail while driving, today received third reading in the legislature.
Drivers will be prohibited from using hand-held cell phones and other hand-held electronic entertainment or communications devices while driving. The use of hands-free devices would be permitted.
Emergency calls, such as calls to 911, will not be affected.
Transport Canada estimates that driver distraction is a contributing factor in about 20 per cent of all collisions. Drivers who use cell phones are four times more likely to be in a crash.
Once supporting regulations are developed, the new law could be in effect as early as this fall.
“We want drivers to focus on the task of driving: driving safely must always be a driver’s primary task and responsibility: anything less is unacceptable. Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel – it is one of the basic tenets of safe driving,” said Transportation Minister Jim Bradley (http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/about/minister.shtml).
- Once the new law is in place, drivers who text, type, email, dial, or chat using a prohibited hand-held device could be fined up to $500.
- Ontario will join more than 50 countries worldwide that already have similar laws in place, and a growing number of North American jurisdictions such as Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, California and New York.