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Cell phones, to ban or not to ban

MONTREAL, Que. -- The debate on whether portable phones should be banned from the driver's seat has surfaced again...

MONTREAL, Que. — The debate on whether portable phones should be banned from the driver’s seat has surfaced again due to a horrific crash involving a four-wheel driver.

Four Quebecers died when a sport utility vehicle careened out of control and jumped a guardrail on an expressway in Baltimore, Md. Friday. The driver of the SUV, who also died, was apparently distracted while talking on her cellular phone.

For the first time, investigators with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board say they’re looking at the role played by a cellphone in an accident. However, other factors such as vehicle and road conditions were also being considered.

Cellphone use here at home in Canada is under scrutiny, as well.

The Ontario coroner’s office is supposed to set a date soon for an inquest early this year into the deaths of a man and a child who were killed at a railway crossing in Pickering, Ont. The driver was apparently talking on his cellphone when a train hit his pickup truck.

Laws aimed at regulating cellphones have also been considered in Alberta, Ontario, B.C., Quebec and Nova Scotia — but none have yet been passed.

“Drivers are four times more likely to get into a crash when they are using a phone compared to when they are not using a phone,” says Dr. Donald Redelmeier who has participated in several studies on the effects of cellphone use on drivers.

“We find that this increase in risk is persistent even for individuals with many years of using a cellular phone.”

A number of countries have already banned the use of cellphones by drivers, including Brazil, Sweden, Australia, Israel and Portugal. New York State also has legislation banning the use of hand-held cells while driving.

Truck News

Truck News

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.
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