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Edmonton may be first to outlaw handheld cells while driving

EDMONTON, Alta. -- A city councillor is aggressively pushing to make Edmonton the first Canadian city to ban driver...


EDMONTON, Alta. — A city councillor is aggressively pushing to make Edmonton the first Canadian city to ban drivers from using handheld cellular phones.

Yesterday, Coun. Dave Thiele asked bureaucrats to enact a traffic bylaw, armed with fines of about $100, levied against chatty drivers.

“I think it’s an important item we should be looking at,” Thiele tells local media. “It’s becoming more and more rampant, just from my personal observations. And talking to other people who’ve had lots of near misses.”

The Alberta Motor Association is in favor of a ban. In fact, they suggest taking it one step further and banning the use of hands-free devices while driving, too.

“Whether or not you have hands-free or handheld, it’s dumb and it’s unsafe and you shouldn’t do it,” AMA spokesman Dan VanKeeken says matter-of-factly. “The bigger problem is the mental distraction.”

A survey last fall indicated that about 81 per cent of Canadians are in favor of a ban on handheld cell phones while driving.


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