Alberta dialling up cell ban legislation; ON rule kicks-in

EDMONTON — As more provinces get ready to answer the call of safety, you’ll have to be careful how you answer yours, calls on a cell phone that is.

Ontario’s distracted driving legislation kicks in today – joining the ranks of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Quebec and PEI, as regions with active legislation – and other regions are lining up fast to join in.

Manitoba passed a ban on using handheld cell phones while driving earlier this year and the legislation is expected to being next summer, while B.C.’s recent legislation will begin on Jan. 1, 2010.

Saskatchewan and Alberta were said to be considering similar legislation and a story in the Calgary Herald reported that the latter province is ready to take action.

Details of the distracted driver legislation in Alberta are being worked on by a committee made up of representatives from the Solicitor General’s office, the Transportation Department and the Attorney General’s office.

While the use of handheld cell phones, texting and e-mailing while driving, will most likely be outlawed, the committee is also looking at other forms of distracting behaviour like applying makeup while driving or adjusting stereo systems while driving.

In other regions, provincial trucking associations have been successful in attempts to win exemptions for the trucking community, allowing truckers to use certain devices (such as CB radios, except in Ontario’s case) for commercial purposes without being fined.

Further details on Alberta’s proposed legislation are expected in the near future.

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