Get your hands off that cell

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Technically, this is hands-free

Drivers in Ontario will have to find other ways to distract themselves now that hand-held cell phones have been taken off the hook.

For weeks the warnings have been flashing on Ontario highway signs: as of Oct. 26, hands-free devices only.

The law also forbids the use of portable video games and DVD players while driving, but does not prohibit the use of GPS systems that are secured to the dash. Calling 9-11 is still allowed.

Drivers who are caught using a hand-held cell phone will face up to a $500 fine.

Ontario joins Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, and Nova Scotia in prohibiting hand-held cell use while driving, but the Ontario Medical Association says talking on a phone increases risk of a crash even when it’s a hands-free device.

1 COMMENT

  1. To Chris in TO, re: “mix in your scotch”

    !!! Dude, where I come from that is considered a federal offense.

    As for cell phones, the only way to ensure a reduction in accidents caused by inattentive drivers is to ban the use of them while driving. Period.

  2. Many UK studies have shown that having a conversation on a cell phone with a Hands-Free kit still impares a drivers judgement and reflexes as much as being legally drunk.

    It’s the distractions that need to be addressed. Trying to remove them by law won’t cut it and where do we draw the line? What is needed more than anything is driver education about safer driving and more emphasis needs to be placed on advanced driver & rider training.

    Safer roads start with safer drivers. They need to choose to be safer though and further educated that the real risk on the road is the driver.

  3. Are “bluetooth” gadgets flying off the store shelves these days? My thought is that the people who like to drive and talk will continue to do so, only “hands free.” When their telephone conversations becomes more interesting than the traffic, won’t they be just as dangerous to the rest of us? I’ve seen drivers on hands free devices waving their hands around inside their cars while making an animated point during a conversation on the road. IDIOTS!

  4. Not sure if it was here or not, but I recently read a comment about the existing laws being just fine, they need to be enforced… And if people were taught to drive, rather than legislated into compliance, we’d probably have less incidents*.

    *Accidents are things like putting too much salt on your popcorn, mix in your scotch… Incidents are the result of poor choices and lack of training/attention…

    If an airplane overflys it’s destination… Is it an accident or an incident?

  5. I’ve noticed the worst cager inattention when looking down to dial their damned cells than when speaking on them. Do hands-free phones dial themselves?

  6. It’s simple Steve. Only criminals ‘street race’ , while solid citizens use cell phones while driving. Never mind that the racing and stunting laws have likely netted more grandparents than the actual racers we were fooled into thinking the law would target.

  7. So why are they giving three months grace on this one, yet when the “street racing” law was enacted, they started STEALING (yes stealing – I still think this is unconstitutional) people’s vehicles immediately?

    When riding, I’ve rarely been endangered by someone speeding but cellphone dickheads put me in immediate, severe personal jeopardy almost on a daily basis.

  8. This does nothing to stop the people who juggle coffee, danish pastry, and newspaper while driving in to work in the morning, nor do I think that it will be enforced, except post facto.

    Rather than creating a new law, they should have disambiguated the existing laws ‘regarding operation without due care and attention.’ This sort of behaviour fits the real definition of that expression quite well.

  9. Yes, this covers a wide range of devices and their use but does that really absolve us from in-car distractions? Not even close, especially when drivers are now being encouraged to use hands-free kits for their phones so that they can still carry on conversations. Wait a minute…shouldn’t the point of this law also address the whole concept of talking on a phone?

    Read my full take on this law at http://www.thelonelyrider.com/2009/10/hands-free-law-gives-false-sense-of.html

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