Bill would fine drivers up to $1,000 for cellphone use
Web Staff, cp24.com
Published Tuesday, October 28, 2008 11:02PM EDT
Transportation Minister Jim Bradley says his newly launched "eyes on the road, hands on the wheel" bill will lay fines of up to $1,000 on drivers who talk, text or send emails from their cellphones while driving.
Announcing the proposed new law on Tuesday at the legislature, Bradley said the bill covers cellphones, BlackBerrys and other electronic devices used by drivers.
The bill includes regulations that would force Ontario drivers to use hands-free equipment when making phone calls. It would also ban text-messaging and emailing while driving.
There will also be new rules governing the use of Global Positioning Systems by drivers, which will now have to be properly secured to the vehicle's dashboard.
However, exceptions will be made for drivers calling 911.
Drivers who contravene the new laws could be found guilty of careless driving and receive up to six demerit points, a license suspension or jail time.
Newfoundland, Quebec and Nova Scotia have already introduced rules to stop drivers from using phones. Manitoba and Prince Edward Island are considering similar legislation.
"Ours will be comprehensive and probably more onerous," Bradley says.
The Ontario Medical Association says speaking on a phone while driving puts people at "a significantly greater risk" of collision. The OMA says using hands-free devices doesn't significantly lower that risk.
Bradley says enforcing a ban on hands-free phoning would be hard to enforce, as it would be difficult to tell whether talking on the phone was taking place from outside.
With files from The Canadian Press