Cell Phone Ban to be Aggressively Enforced on February 1, 2010

Update: see previous posts – O.P.P Laying Numerous Cellphone Charges before February 1, 2010Cell Phone Ban effective October 26, 2009 on Ontario’s highways, streets & roads. , Restrictions on Cell Phones in Motor Vehicles

Effective Monday, February 1, 2010 Bill 118 will be aggressively enforced in Ontario (by the O.P.P) and Toronto (by the Toronto Police) and expect a ticket with a fine starting at $ 155.00 (which includes the victim fine surcharge, and the court costs ) which is added to the initial fine. Given the climate that currently exists in the GTA (with a large number of pedestrians dying (14 since Jan.6/10) after coming  into contact with motor vehicles) fightyourtickets.ca predicts that a huge number of tickets will be issued in the first week of February, not only for using hand-held devices, but for anything else that can be loosely connected to safety at pedestrian cross-overs, intersections, traffic lights, cross-walks etc.). Driver’s will be charged for simply having a hand-held device in their hands (whether they are being used or not) while sitting behind the wheel, while the vehicle is moving on the road.

The O.P.P have been issuing numerous tickets for motorists using their cellphones during the Ontario governments “education period” or grace period between Oct.26/09 and Jan.31/10 and will issue many more when official enforcement is to begin on February 1, 2010.

Due to a high number of pedestrian deaths (in which motor vehicles were involved) in Toronto (10 in 9 days), Toronto’s Chief of Police, Bill Blair recently said “there is a new legislation for distracted drivers, which is an issue as well. The law against use of hand-held devices while driving will be aggressively enforced starting in February”.

This is Ontario’s newest law (which carries a fine up to $500.00) which prohibits driver’s from texting, typing, emailing, dialing or talking or listening to messages using a hand-held device (includes cellphones, smartphones, iPhones, portable videogames and media players). This includes viewing screens on laptop computers or DVD players: Bill 118, Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act, 2009 . See Government website:

  • The new law only applies to “hand-held devices”
  • Did you know that drivers who text, type, email, dial or chat using a hand-held device could be fined up to $500 for:

  • Using hand-held cellphones, smartphones, portable videogames and media players
  • Viewing screens on laptops or DVD players
  • Driver’s may use hands-free devices:

  • Cellphones with an earpiece, headset or Bluetooth device using voice dialing
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) units mounted on the dashboard
  • Portable media players (ie-iPod) plugged into vehicle’s sound system
  • The law does not apply to:

  • Driver’s in vehicles pulled off the roadway or lawfully parked
  • 9-1-1 calls
  • Display screens showing information about the vehicle’s status
  • This law will most affect those who drive for a living or who use their vehicles as a mobile office.  If you need to talk while your driving a motor vehicle, make sure that you use an earpiece, headset or Bluetooth device using voice dialing that is compatible with your cellphone or other electronic device that you are using; if you do use one of these, as opposed to picking up your phone to speak or dial, you will save yourself the unnecessary inconvenience of having to pull over and then having to deal with the ticket issued. There are other gadgets that can be used to avoid a ticket, which carries with it a maximum fine of $ 500.00

    Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states the following:

    Display screen visible to driver prohibited

    78. (1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway if the display screen of a television, computer or other device in the motor vehicle is visible to the driver. 2009, c. 4, s. 1.

    Exceptions

    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of the display screen of,

    (a) a global positioning system navigation device while being used to provide navigation information;

    (b) a hand-held wireless communication device or a device that is prescribed for the purpose of subsection 78.1 (1);

    (c) a logistical transportation tracking system device used for commercial purposes to track vehicle location, driver status or the delivery of packages or other goods;

    (d) a collision avoidance system device that has no other function than to deliver a collision avoidance system; or

    (e) an instrument, gauge or system that is used to provide information to the driver regarding the status of various systems of the motor vehicle. 2009, c. 4, s. 1.

    Same

    (3) Subsection (1) does not apply to the driver of an ambulance, fire department vehicle or police department vehicle. 2009, c. 4, s. 1.

    Exemption by regulation

    (4) The Minister may make regulations exempting any class of persons or vehicles or any device from this section and prescribing conditions and circumstances for any such exemption. 2009, c. 4, s. 1.

    Hand-held devices prohibited

    Wireless communication devices

    78.1 (1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device or other prescribed device that is capable of receiving or transmitting telephone communications, electronic data, mail or text messages. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

    Entertainment devices

    (2) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held electronic entertainment device or other prescribed device the primary use of which is unrelated to the safe operation of the motor vehicle. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

    Hands-free mode allowed

    (3) Despite subsections (1) and (2), a person may drive a motor vehicle on a highway while using a device described in those subsections in hands-free mode. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

    Exceptions

    (4) Subsection (1) does not apply to,

    (a) the driver of an ambulance, fire department vehicle or police department vehicle;

    (b) any other prescribed person or class of persons;

    (c) a person holding or using a device prescribed for the purpose of this subsection; or

    (d) a person engaged in a prescribed activity or in prescribed conditions or circumstances. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

    Same

    (5) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of the use of a device to contact ambulance, police or fire department emergency services. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

    Same

    (6) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply if all of the following conditions are met:

    1. The motor vehicle is off the roadway or is lawfully parked on the roadway.

    2. The motor vehicle is not in motion.

    3. The motor vehicle is not impeding traffic. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

    The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador became the first province to curtain the use of cellphones by driver’s in vehicles. Newfoundland and Labrador was followed by Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan. Almost all the United States have passed similar legislation.  More than 50 countries have passed similar laws regarding the use of cellphones while operating a motor vehicle.

    See similar laws  in the Provinces and Territories:

    Alberta: Has spoken about passing this law, but has not passed any legislation to date.

    British Columbia’s Solicitor General, Kash P. Heed, has called for public input by August 7, 2009 on possible restrictions on cellphone use and on the issue of sanctions. Beginning January 1, 2010, typing, texting or dialing on a handheld cell phone or any handheld portable electronic device while driving in British Columbia, will be subject the driver to a $167  fine and a penalty of 3 points.

    British Columbia:

    Motor Vehicle Act [RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 318

    Part 3.1 — Use of Electronic Devices while Driving

    Definitions

    In this Part:

    “electronic device” means

    (a) a hand-held cellular telephone or another hand-held electronic device that includes a telephone function,

    (b) a hand-held electronic device that is capable of transmitting or receiving electronic mail or other text-based messages, or

    (c) a prescribed class or type of electronic device;

    “use”, in relation to an electronic device, means one or more of the following actions:

    (a) holding the device in a position in which it may be used;

    (b) operating one or more of the device’s functions;

    (c) communicating orally by means of the device with another person or another device;

    (d) taking another action that is set out in the regulations by means of, with or in relation to an electronic device.

    Prohibition against use of electronic device while driving

    (1) A person must not use an electronic device while driving or operating a motor vehicle on a highway.

    (2) Without limiting subsection (1), a person must not communicate by means of an electronic device with another person or another device by electronic mail or other text-based message.

    Exceptions to prohibition – emergency personnel

    Section 214.2 does not apply to the following persons who use an electronic device while carrying out their powers, duties or functions:

    (a) a peace officer;

    (b) a person driving or operating an ambulance as defined in the Emergency and Health Services Act;

    (c) fire services personnel as defined in the Fire Services Act

    Exceptions to prohibition – certain permitted activities

    Section 214.2 does not apply to a person who uses an electronic device

    (a) while operating a motor vehicle that is safely parked off the roadway or lawfully parked on the roadway and is not impeding traffic,

    (b) to call or send a message to a police force, fire department or ambulance service about an emergency, or

    (c) that is configured and equipped to allow hands-free use in a telephone function, is used in a hands-free manner and is used in accordance with the regulations, if any.

    Exceptions to prohibition – by regulation

    Section 214.2 does not apply to

    (a) a prescribed class of persons who, while carrying out their powers, duties or functions and driving or operating a motor vehicle or a prescribed class of motor vehicle, use an electronic device or a prescribed class or type of electronic device,

    (b) a person who uses an electronic device while engaged in a prescribed activity or in circumstances or under conditions set out in the regulations, or

    (c) a person who uses a prescribed class or type of electronic device.

    Power to make regulations
    The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations as follows:

    (a) prescribing classes or types of electronic devices for the purposes of paragraph (c) of the definition of “electronic device” in section 214.1;

    (b) setting out actions for the purposes of paragraph (d) of the definition of “use” in section 214.1;

    (c) for the purposes of section 214.4 (c), setting out the manner in which, or the extent to which, a hands-free electronic device may be used in a telephone function;

    (d) for the purposes of section 214.5;

    (e) regulating the installation or mounting of classes or types of electronic devices in motor vehicles;

    (f) exempting or excluding, with or without conditions, classes or types of electronic devices, classes of persons or classes of vehicles or classes of persons while driving or operating a motor vehicle or class of motor vehicle from the operation of a provision of this Part.

    Use of Electronic Devices While Driving Regulation, B.C. Reg. 308/2009

    Beginning January 1, 2010, typing, texting or dialing on a handheld cell phone or any handheld portable electronic device while driving in British Columbia, will be subject the driver to a $167  fine and a penalty of 3 points.

    B.C. provides a month’s grace period (Jan.1-31/10) before issuing tickets with a $167.00 fine and three (3) points on February 1, 2010.

    Manitoba: introduced legislation in November that proposed fines of at least $190 for using hand-held cellphones. Bill 5 was given royal assent on June 11, 2009. see Manitoba Highway Traffic Acts.215.1(1) to 215.1(6).

    C.C.S.M. c. H60 amended

    1 The Highway Traffic Act is amended by this Act.

    2 The following is added after section 186:

    Smoking prohibited in motor vehicle if child present

    186.1(1) No person shall smoke tobacco or have lighted tobacco in a motor vehicle while another person who is younger than 16 years of age is in the vehicle.

    Smoking by children in a motor vehicle prohibited

    186.1(2) No person who is younger than 16 years of age shall smoke tobacco or have lighted tobacco in a motor vehicle.  This subsection applies even if the person is alone in the vehicle and regardless of the age of any other person in the vehicle.

    Prohibitions apply whether motor vehicle enclosed or not

    186.1(3) Subsections (1) and (2) apply in respect of a motor vehicle even if its top or a window, sunroof, door or other feature of the vehicle is open.

    Offence and penalty

    186.1(4) A person who contravenes subsection (1) or (2) is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than $1,000.

    3 The following is added after section 215:

    Definitions re hand-operated electronic devices

    215.1(1) The following definitions apply in this section.

    “hand-operated electronic device” means

    (a) a cellular telephone;

    (b) another electronic device that

    (i) includes a telephone function, and

    (ii) normally is held in the user’s hand during use or requires the user to use his or her hand to operate any of its functions;

    (c) an electronic device that is not otherwise described in clause (a) or (b) but that

    (i) is capable of transmitting or receiving e-mail or other text-based messages, and

    (ii) normally is held in the user’s hand during use or requires the user to use his or her hand to operate any of its functions; or

    (d) any other electronic device that is prescribed as a hand-operated electronic device by the regulations. (« appareil électronique à commande manuelle »)

    “use”, in relation to a hand-operated electronic device, means any of the following actions:

    (a) holding the device in a position in which it may be used;

    (b) operating any of the device’s functions;

    (c) communicating by means of the device with another person or another device, by spoken word or otherwise;

    (d) looking at the device’s display; and

    (e) taking any other action with or in relation to the device that is prescribed by the regulations. (« utiliser »)

    Using hand-operated electronic device while driving prohibited

    215.1(2) No person shall use a hand-operated electronic device while driving a vehicle on a highway unless,

    (a) before using the device by hand, the person safely drives the vehicle off the roadway and keeps the vehicle stationary while using the device; or

    (b) the device

    (i) is a cellular telephone or another electronic device that includes a telephone function, and

    (ii) is configured and equipped to allow hands-free use as a telephone and is used in a hands-free manner.

    Exception

    215.1(3) As an exception to subsection (2), a person may use a hand-operated electronic device by hand to call or send a message to a police force, fire department or ambulance service about an emergency.

    Regulations

    215.1(4) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations

    (a) for the purposes of the definition “hand-operated electronic device” in subsection (1), prescribing other devices as hand-operated electronic devices;

    (b) for the purposes of the definition “use” in subsection (1), prescribing other actions that, when done with or in relation to a hand-operated electronic device, constitute using it;

    (c) respecting the exemption, with or without conditions, of certain classes or types of devices or vehicles, or certain classes of persons, from the operation of a provision of this section;

    (d) respecting any matter the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary or advisable to carry out the purposes of this section.

    The Bill prohibits drivers from using a cell phone or similar electronic communication device except

  • to make a hands-free telephone call;
  • while pulled over and stopped; or
  • to communicate with a police, fire or ambulance service in an emergency.
  • Regulations may be made to add further exemptions for certain classes of devices, vehicles or persons, or to prohibit the use of other kinds of devices while driving. The fine is $ 190.80.


    In Newfoundland and Labrador: if you are convicted of this offence (which came into effect on April 1, 2003), you will receive a ticket and a fine in a range of $100.00 to $400.00 and will accumulate four (4) demerit points. If the defendant defaults on payment of the fine, they face possible incarceration of 2 – 14 days. See section 176.1 of the Newfoundland and Labrador Highway Traffic Act.

    New Brunswick: Has no legislation restricting cellphone or hand-held communication or electronic devices.

    Northwest Territories: The Northwest Territories created their own Motor Vehicles Act in 1988. There is no cellphone ban or hand-held laws on the books.  which was subsequently adopted by Nunavut in April 1999 without amendment.

    In Nova Scotia: See Bill 7 (An Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Motor Vehicle Act).If you are convicted of this offence (which began on April 1, 2008) , you will be fined starting at $135.75  for a first offence, $164.50  and up to $222.00 for repeated subsequent offences (see N.S. Reg.4/2001 – 5A (1) Category A).  See section 100D (1) & (2) of the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act.

    Cellular telephones

    100D (1) It is an offence for a person to use a hand-held cellular telephone or engage in text messaging on any communications device while operating a vehicle on a highway.

    (2) This Section does not apply to a person who uses a hand-held cellular telephone or other communications device to report an immediate emergency situation. 2007, c. 45, s. 7 .

    Nunavut: In 1999, Nunvut adopted the Motor Vehicles Act of the Northwest Territories; as a result, there is no ban on the use of cellphones or other hand-held devices.

    Ontario:

    Aggressive enforcement will commence on February 1, 2010. It is being suggested that the ticket’s fine will start at $155.00, up to a maxium of $ 500.00. No demerit points are accumulated upon conviction.


    Prince Edward Island prohibits (which began April 1, 2007)  newly licensed drivers (Stage 1)  from using cellphones (or utilizing headphones) or any hand-held electronic device while operating or having care or control of a motor vehicle. driving. See section 6 of Graduated Driver Licensing Regulations P.E.I Reg. EC225/07 + P.E.I. Reg. EC321/01 ($100.00 fine)), –  Enabling Legislation- subsection 69(1) of the  Highway Traffic Act, R.S.P.E.I. 1988.

    Goes into effect on January 23, 2010 and the fine is a ticket between $250 – $400 and driver accumulates 3 demerit points.

    Quebec:

    In Quebec: if you are convicted of this offence (which began on April 1, 2008), you will receive a fine of $115.00 + and will accumulate three (3) demerit points. Bill 42 (An Act to amend the Highway Safety Code and the Regulation respecting demerit points -see section 26.1) See sections 439.1 and 508.3 of the Highway Safety Code.

    Hand-held telephones.

    439.1. No person may, while driving a road vehicle, use a hand-held device that includes a telephone function.

    Presumption.

    For the purposes of this section, a driver who is holding a hand-held device that includes a telephone function is presumed to be using the device.

    Exception.

    This prohibition does not apply to drivers of emergency vehicles in the performance of their duties.

    2007, c. 40, s. 58.

    Headphones.

    440. In no case may the driver of a road vehicle or person riding a bicycle use headphones or earphones.

    Exception.

    This section does not apply to a device used in conversational exchanges among its users to the extent that the device allows surrounding traffic noises to be heard. 1986, c. 91, s. 440.

    Saskatchewan:

    Hand-held electronic communications equipment prohibited

    241.1(1) In this section and in section 287:

    (a) “electronic communications equipment” means a cellular phone or
    other prescribed equipment;

    (b) “make a phone call” means to make, answer or end a phone call, or to
    transmit or receive voice communication;

    (c) “new driver” means a new driver as defined in the regulations;

    (d) “use” means, with respect to electronic communications equipment, to
    use the electronic communications equipment to make a phone call, text, talk,
    email, or surf or access the Internet, or for any other prescribed purpose.

    (2) No driver shall use electronic communications equipment while driving a
    motor vehicle on a highway.

    (3) Subsection (2) does not apply to:

    (a) a driver who is not a new driver and who, while driving a motor vehicle
    on a highway:

    (i) activates the electronic communications equipment to make a phone
    call by pressing a button once on the electronic communications equipment,
    or on a device that is linked to electronic communications equipment,
    and does not hold the electronic communications equipment; or

    (ii) utilizes his or her voice to activate electronic communications
    equipment to make a phone call and does not hold the electronic
    communications equipment;

    (b) a driver if the driver is using electronic communications equipment to
    report an emergency to a police service, a fire department or emergency
    medical services or to request an ambulance;

    (c) a prescribed person or prescribed class of persons; or

    (d) a prescribed vehicle or prescribed class of vehicles. 2009, c.35, s.11.

    Saskatchewan’s cellphone ban begins on January 1, 2010. The penalty will be fine of $280 and four demerit points.

    Yukon Territory: there doesn’t appear to be any restrictions on motorists on cellphones or hand-held devices in the Motor Vehicles Act. 

    Do any of the U.S. States have similar laws on the books? Almost all of them.  There are only 5 U.S. States – California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Washington (includes the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands) that have an all out ban on operator of motor vehicles using cell phones. There are 17 U.S. States which have some form of prohibition on driving and cell phone use and text messaging, especially teen drivers and bus drivers.

    See the chart laying out the restrictions in each State of the United States of America.

    New York Police handed out nine thousane and sixteen (9016)  $120.00 summonses to motorists, who talked on a cell phone without using a headset, on March 12, 2009 in a one day blitz in New York.

    At least in 50 other countries around the world, the cellular phone has already been banned.

    Here is a list of some of those countries who will not allow motorists to talk on the phone while driving:

    Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Isle of Mann, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan-Islamabad, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Kingdom.

    January 9, 2010: U.S. States laws on cellphone and texting restriction.

    January 30, 2010: Study: Hand-held cellphone bans have no effect.

    February 1, 2010 – the first day of the hand-held device ban in Toronto. What the Toronto Police are saying and their campaign in response to the implementation of the hand-held electronic device ban.

    March 3, 2010 – in the first month (February) the O.P.P charged 470 motorists and police in the GTA, charged 155 motorists under this new law.

    April 2, 2010 – Hands-free conversations aren’t safe – see U.S. National Safety Council (cell phone fact sheet and Press Release) and Toronto Star story.

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