Legislation was introduced that, if passed by the Ontario legislature, would ban the use of hand held electronic communications devices by drivers .

The proposed Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act, 2008, introduced into the legislature today by the Minister of Transportation, Jim Bradley will ban the use of cell phones and other hand-held electronic  communications devices by drivers on Ontario’s roads. Devices such as portable video games, DVD players and GPS are also included.

In introducing the legislation, the Ministry noted that distracted driving is estimated to be a factor in 20 per cent of all collisions and that drivers using cell phones were four times more likely to be involved in a collision than a driver who is focused on the road.

The new legislation would, if passed, allow police to fine drivers convicted of using a banned device while driving up to $500. Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have similar laws in place.

Using cell phones with ear pieces and fixed, in-dash GPS systems would continue to be allowed as would exemptions for 911 calls on a cell phone. In addition, police, fire department and emergency medical services personnel will be permitted to use hand-held wireless communications devices in the normal performance of their duties.

The proposed legislation will also remove barriers to carpooling in Ontario by recognizing informal, irregular carpools that operate between municipalities for purposes other than just
home-to-work and work-to-home trips.

For more information, please go to: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/index.html.

Action: For information. AMO will continue to update members on relevant transportation issues as they arise.