Dialing for Demerits: Ont politician pushes for cell phone ban

TORONTO — An MPP from Ontario’s Official Opposition continues to push for a province-wide ban on cell phones while on the road, calling for the government to follow other jurisdictions with restrictions on mobile phones while driving.

Ontario drivers will have to hang up hand
helds if MP gets his way

Conservative John O’Toole introduced his private member’s bill for the third time, vowing he’d continue to propose the plan until it was voted through, according to Canadian Press.

Under the proposed legislation, CP reports, drivers operating vehicles would still be permitted to use hands-free devices and could use a standard hand-held cell to report an emergency, a traffic accident, a crime, or unsafe road conditions.

Novice drivers would not be allowed to make phone calls from behind the wheel at all, and the legislation would be open ended so that other devices could be outlawed as technology evolves, states the report.

O’Toole said cell phone bans have been a success in other jurisdictions like Australia and several U.S. states.

In Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador has had a cell phone ban in place since 2003. Tom Beckett, spokesman for the province’s motor registration department, told CP the law was controversial a couple years ago but is now an accepted fact of life.

Penalties in Newfoundland range from $100 to $400 and four demerit points.

Last year Manitoba was also seriously considering a ban. At the time, Transportation Minister Ron Lemieux said government officials were studying the experiences of other jurisdictions with bans.

— from Canadian Press

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