TORONTO, Ont. — Ontario’s cell phone ban for drivers will kick in Oct. 26, with fines of up to $500 for offenders beginning Feb. 1, 2010 the province has announced.
The new law makes it illegal to use a handheld communications or entertainment device while driving. Ontario joins many other jurisdictions with similar laws, noting that a driver is four times more likely to be in involved in an accident while using a handheld phone than a driver who’s focused on the road.
The ban does not include hands-free devices, including a cell phone with an earpiece or a headset that uses voice dialing. GPS systems that are properly secured within the vehicle are also acceptable, according to the province.
Truckers will also be able to continue using display screens that provide information about the status of the vehicle.
The province has also allowed certain exemptions for commercial drivers. It will allow a three year phase-out period for the use of two-way radios including CB radios to allow tie for hands-free alternatives to be developed.
Mobile data terminals, logistical tracking devices and dispatch devices will not be banned, the province said. Hand-mikes (push-to-talk devices) and portable radios will be allowed in hands-free mode only, allowing a driver to use a lapel button or other hands-free application as long as the hand-mike or walkie-talkie isn’t held while driving, according to the province.
For more on the province’s law, visit its Web site.
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