Cell Phone Ban effective October 26, 2009 on Ontario’s highways, streets & roads.

Update: See earlier post.

In October, 2009 Bill 118 – Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act, 2009 will be implemented and enforced on the highways, streets and roads of Ontario after a public awareness program is conducted for Ontarionians, concerning the new prohibition on driving while using or viewing electronic hand-held devices (this includes, cell phones, iPhones, smartphones, blackberries, iPods, MP3 players, DVD players, laptop computers, eBook readers, portable games), is conducted.

Similar rules and laws have already been passed in other Provinces. In fact, Ontario followed four (4) other Provinces in passing this legislation. Ontario follows Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Manitoba follows Ontario as the sixth Province implementing similar legislation.

The rules in Ontario for using a hand-held device attract less sanctions then Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

Starting in October, 2009:
In Ontario, if police witness you using a hand-held device (to: view,talk, listen, emailing (reading or sending or writing) or text messaging (reading or sending or writing) or observing a GPS (global positioning system) unit (not properly affixed to the dashboard) while operating a motor vehicle (you are situated behind the steering wheel of the vehicle and are operating it and have care and control of the motor vehicle) in Ontario, you will receive a ticket worth up to $500.00.

See sections 78 (1) to 78.1 (subsections 1-8 inclusive) of the Highway Traffic Act.

If the police consider your use of such a device as careless driving, you could potentially be charged with careless driving pursurant to section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act. A conviction for this offence, would mean the driver would accumulate six (6) demerit points on your driving record, face a huge fine, up to $2000.00 (and a huge increase in insurance premiums or having insurance cancelled), suspension of one’s driver’s licence and possible incarceration.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.

Those who are exempt from this new Ontario law:

Police, Firefighters and Paramedics. Driver’s (who are not police,firefighters or paramedics) requiring emergency services, are exempt from the law if they are calling “911”.

As a driver in Ontario, you are exempt from this law if you are calling “911” as a result of an emergency or if you are pulled over safely off of the roadway or you are properly parked.

How can a driver, operating a motor vehicle in Ontario, make or accept a phone call without violating this law?

If driver’s, driving in Ontario want to initiate outgoing phone calls or accept incoming phone calls, the law provides for the use of hands-free devices (ie.-headsets, bluetooth technology, OnStar, etc.).

If you want to use your communication (that is not a hands-free device) or entertainment device, in compliance with the law, while you are behind the wheel in a motor vehicle, you must meet these conditions:

  • the motor vehicle you are operating, is off the roadway or is lawfully parked on the roadway.
  • the motor vehicle you are operating, is not in motion (this doesn’t include a “traffic light” or “stop sign”)
  • the motor vehicle you are operating, is not impeding traffic.

This means that while operating your motor vehicle as the driver and if you do not have a headset, bluetooth technology or something similar, you must pull over and use your cell phone or i phone to initiate or accept a phone call.  There was a time when driver’s had to stop and exit their motor vehicles and go to a phone booth to make a phone call.

” The Provincial government decided to allow hands-free cellphone calls through headsets or earpieces because the law would be difficult to enforce, otherwise it would be impossible for police to tell if the motorist was talking to a passenger, rehearsing a speech or singing along with the car radio” said Ontario Transportation Minister Jim Bradley.

Do any of the U.S. States have similar bans on the law books?

Naturally.  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.

New York Police handed out nine thousand 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.

See Ontario Transportation Minister Jim Bradley trying to make a phone call on a cellular phone while driving in simulation car ride called D.U.M.B.  Ontario Transportation Minister Jim Bradley isn’t currently considering banning eating or drinking or talking in motor vehicles operating on Ontario highways and roads.

The Law may not be implemented until late October, 2009 and Jim Bradley, the Minister of Transportation is signalling that motorists may enjoy a three-month grace period, once the law is implemented on the roads of Ontario.

Update: September 18, 2009 – Ontario Liberal Minister of Transportation, Jim Bradley is considering giving drivers a three-month grace period after the law takes effect. Penalties will also be softer than other similar infractions. Fines will range anywhere from $60 to $500 with no demerit points, according to draft regulations.
See stories,Ottawa Citizen,Owen Sound SunTimes, driving.ca

Update: June 6, 2009 – Countries that ban cell phones while driving

Update: September 14, 2009 – 92 per cent of Ontario drivers will obey cellphone ban: poll

Ontario’s Bill 118, The Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act, 2009:
Update: September 18, 2009 –post 1 & post 2 from the Ministry of Transporation.

Update: It is official, the Cell Phone/Blackberry/Hand held Devices Ban will begin on Saturday, October 26, 2009.

Update: The Government will provide a grace period between Oct.26/09 and Jan.31/10 (the education period) and will begin to issue tickets under Bill 118 on Monday, February 1, 2010.

Update: October 12, 2009 – Technology that is hands-free and works within the Legislation.

Update: October 19, 2009 – Police in York Region are issuing warnings to driver’s about Bill 118 that is scheduled to be implemented on October 26, 2009. See other stories from the Orangeville Banner, Gravenhurst Banner, Online Pioneer Plus, Canada.com .

Update: December 22, 2009 – British Columbia follows Manitoba,  Ontario, Newfoundland & Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Nova Scotia in the ban against hand-held devices in motor vehicles. British Columbia and Ontario will begin to enforce their hand-held ban laws on Monday, February 1, 2010.

Update: January 4, 2010 – In British Columbia police will begin enforcing changes to the Motor Vehicle Act on February 1, 2010.  Drivers can only use hands-free cellphones and devices that require just one touch to activate. If caught doing otherwise, driver’s will be subject to a fine of $167.  In addition, drivers caught texting or emailing will be subject to three penalty points. New drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) enjoy even less leniency and face a full ban on all cellphone and electronic devices, including hands-free.

Update: January 5, 2010 – New Brunswick considers cellphone ban while driving. The legislation would not be implemented until after the September 27, 2010 Provincial election, according to Public Safety Minister, Mr. John Foran. If New Brunswick introduces this law; the only remaining Province without laws surrounding motorists using hand-held devices while driving (distracted driving laws) would be Alberta. Alberta has already studied and rejected the idea of banning cellphone use on highways.

Update: January 21, 2010 – Cell phone ban to be “aggressively enforced” in Toronto, beginning on February 1, 2010, according to Toronto Police Chief, Bill Blair.

Update: 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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  17. Hi Grant:
    This law applies to all handheld devices, including walkie-talkies – it isn’t the type of device, it is the fact that a driver’s attention is divided or distracted when
    he/she starts to perform other activities other than just watching the road and driving, that is the issue.

    Remember to always http://fightyourtickets.ca

  18. Hello Admin
    Just one question…..I just got ticketed for talking on a “walkie -talkie” while driving…..I believe this is exempted …Am I correct?
    Thank you for such a great imformative site!

  19. THE REGULATION 366/09 READS DIFFERENTLY FROM STATUTE 78 REGARDING THE USE OF HANDHELD DEVICES, PARTICULARLY WITH REGARD TO THE HOLDING OF ONE WHILE DRIVING. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

  20. Hi Richard:

    Your not suppose to enter the intersection on an amber, and you should have been charged with the following:

    Amber Light – Fail to Stop – see section 144 (15) of the Highway Traffic Act

    Amber light

    (15) Every driver approaching a traffic control signal showing a circular amber indication and facing the indication shall stop his or her vehicle if he or she can do so safely, otherwise he or she may proceed with caution. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (15).

    Even then there are a number of questions that have to be asked and answered:

    When did the officer who issued you the ticket first see you?
    Where was your vehicle situated when the traffic light turned from amber to red?
    How many seconds does the traffic light remain amber before turning red – what is the timing sequence at that intersection? (this can be obtained from the City of Toronto).
    Did the officer confirm that the traffic light at Yonge St & King St was in proper working order, before or even after he issued you with the ticket?

    With regard to your question about a handheld device, you cannot, while driving or even stopping at a red light or stop sign, be seen picking up your phone or even pressing a button to activate the hands-free mode, to connect it with your wireless bluetooth –
    see section 78.1 of the Highway Traffic Act there are no exceptions, unless you are an EMS worker or are calling 911 in response to an emergency

    See:
    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.

    Regulations

    (7) The Minister may make regulations,

    (a) prescribing devices for the purpose of subsections (1) and (2);

    (b) prescribing persons, classes of persons, devices, activities, conditions and circumstances for the purpose of subsection (4). 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

    Definition

    (8) In this section,

    “motor vehicle” includes a street car, motorized snow vehicle, farm tractor, self-propelled implement of husbandry and road-building machine. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

  21. Thank you very much; I turned at a legal time. The argument is simply regarding whether or not it was a turn on red or amber. He seems to be saying that I came into the intersection on red. Is it legal to enter the intersection on amber?

    Also: I noticed that you mentioned in another response above the following exception in relation to the hand-held:
    What would be allowed while driving:

    * Pressing the button of a hand-held device to activate hands-free mode for incoming or outbound calls
    Can you tell me where this appears in the legislation? Thank you!

  22. Hi Richard:
    One other question: after turning left onto King from Yonge, I was ticketed on the basis of going through a red light. I disagreed with the cop, to no avail. I entered the intersection at the beginning of a yellow light. Do I have grounds to dispute his claim?
    Thank you!

    Normally arguing about the officer’s perception at the roadside will not meet with success. In fact, this type of situation only reinforces the officer’s view that you will dispute the ticket that he/she generated and normally ensures that the officer takes detailed notes in their logbook to use later at trial in court.

    You turned left onto King Street from Yonge St. There is a prohibition about left turns Mon-Sat from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm – see link: http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=Yonge+St+and+King+St+Intersection+in+Toronto&hl=en&ll=43.649255,-79.377943&spn=0.00072,0.002363&sll=49.891235,-97.15369&sspn=20.76537,77.431641&vpsrc=0&z=19&layer=c&cbll=43.649105,-79.377882&panoid=u_zZk-chOGp6GSvnUqVbcw&cbp=12,183.83,,1,-7.65

    If you made the left turn from Yonge St onto King St at times other than those, then it becomes a non-issue.

    If you are already into the intersection, you are entitled to turn on the amber or red light. If not, a conviction for either, carries with it three (3) demerit points on your driving record with the Ministry of Transportation.

    You can fight this and you should. Follow the steps outlined in this website and upon receiving the Notice of Trial, request Disclosure.

    When you show up for the trial, the prosecutor will attempt to have you enter into a plea bargain and plead guilty to a lesser offence, with less of a fine attached to the conviction. Remember, insurance companies don’t care about demerit points, they only care about convictions, especially for moving violations.

    Remember to http://fightyourtickets.ca

  23. One other question: after turning left onto King from Yonge, I was ticketed on the basis of going through a red light. I disagreed with the cop, to no avail. I entered the intersection at the beginning of a yellow light. Do I have grounds to dispute his claim?
    Thank you!

  24. Hi Richard:
    The Actstates that you cannot “hold” your wireless communication device – you don’t have to be using it (ie- to receive or send a text message), simply “holding” it.

    Upon conviction there is no demerit points associated with this infraction and generally a fine of $155.00 – which would be decreased if you chose to challenge your ticket.

    The officer may not show up and may not have taken accurate notes about the incident. I would challenge it and request a trial.

    Here is what the Ontario Highway Traffic Act states:

    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.

    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.

    Regulations

    (7) The Minister may make regulations,

    (a) prescribing devices for the purpose of subsections (1) and (2);

    (b) prescribing persons, classes of persons, devices, activities, conditions and circumstances for the purpose of subsection (4). 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

    Definition

    (8) In this section,

    “motor vehicle” includes a street car, motorized snow vehicle, farm tractor, self-propelled implement of husbandry and road-building machine. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

    Remember to always http://fightyourtickets.ca

  25. This is a great site-thank you!
    I would appreciate your opinion on this. I purposely purchased a car in the Fall with a handsfree built-in Bluetooth capability. One day, as it often did to my frustration, it was not working. I got a call while stopped at a red light. I picked up the phone, not to respond, but to see who was calling. A police officer saw this, tapped on my window and said: “I saw you texting. I replied that I wasn’t and handed the phone to the officer in order that he could see that I was not texting; he would not take it from me and instead fined me for operating a cell. phone. In court, do I have a case?
    Thank you!

  26. I agree with your Cell Phone Ban effective October 26, 2009 on Ontario’s highways, streets & roads., good post.

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  29. Hi Nick:
    It is legal, but I doubt it is safe for your ears.

    Decibel Exposure Time Guidelines clearly demonstrate that any sound/noise in excess of 85 decibels
    is hazardous to your health. Accepted standards for recommended permissible exposure time for continuous time weighted average noise, according to NIOSH and CDC, 2002. For every 3 dBAs over 85dBA, the permissible exposure time before possible damage can occur is cut in half. (see: http://www.dangerousdecibels.org/education/information-center/decibel-exposure-time-guidelines/ ).

    There are a number of different situtations that can lead to different types of hearing loss – see: http://www.dangerousdecibels.org/education/information-center/hearing-loss/

    Remember to always http://fightyourtickets.ca

  30. I ride a motorcycle with bluetooth headphones in the helmet and a bluetooth GPS unit that plays music. I also wear earplugs to reduce road noise and reduce the likelihood of getting Tinnitus. Is it legal and/or considered to be safe practice in Ontario to wear one or both headphones either in the ear piece (as ear buds) or in the helmet like it would be in a car speaker system?

    Thanks for all your very clear and patient responses.
    Nick

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  33. Hi Ernie:
    Look at the following posts to learn the most about the cellphone, handheld device ban:
    http://fightyourtickets.ca/cell-phones-ban-effective-october-2009-on-ontarios-highways-streets-roads/ and
    http://fightyourtickets.ca/restriction-on-hand-held-electronic-devices/

    Last Fall (October, 2009) Bill 118 was implemented and the laws of the road changed.

    In Ontario, if police witness you using a hand-held device (to: view,talk, listen, emailing (reading or sending or writing) or text messaging (reading or sending or writing) or observing a GPS (global positioning system) unit (not properly affixed to the dashboard) while operating a motor vehicle (you are situated behind the steering wheel of the vehicle and are operating it and have care and control of the motor vehicle) in Ontario, you will receive a ticket worth up to $500.00.

    Under Ontario’s laws of the road & highway:
    drivers who: text, type, email, dial or chat, using a prohibited hand-held device could face fines up to $ 500.00.

    What would not be allowed while driving, unless the vehicle is pulled off the roadway or lawfully parked:

    * Hand-held wireless communications devices such as cellphones, smartphones
    * Hand-held electronic entertainment devices such as iPods, or other portable MP3 players, or portable games
    * Texting and e-mailing

    What would be allowed while driving:

    * Hands-free wireless communications devices with an earpiece or Blue Tooth device
    * 911 calls
    * Pressing the button of a hand-held device to activate hands-free mode for incoming or outbound calls
    * GPS units mounted on dashboards
    * Collision avoidance systems
    * Use by emergency services personnel such as police, fire and ambulance
    * Logistical transportation tracking devices used for commerical vehicles

    If you are going to use your phone in the car (to listen to music, etc.)
    it is advisable not to have wires of any kind attached to it. Only use a hands-free phone with an earpiece or blue tooth. The keyword is “wireless”; or you risk receiving a ticket.

    If you do get a ticket, always remember to http://fightyourtickets.ca

  34. Hi, if I have a head phones with my phone, can I use both the left and right piece, or does one have to be free? Thanks in advance. Ernie

  35. I believe that mounting a GPS is on the windshield, immediately below the rear view mirror is by far the safest place to locate it. Including it in your normal driver visual scanning pattern is intuitive and fast and no more distracting than using the mirror. Its image can be taken in in a quick glance requiring no additional eye movement. You also still keep the rest of the road picture within your field of vision.

    Placing the GPS on the dash requires the driver to look totally away from the traffic for a much longer time. Your eyes must adapt to both a different background scene and different lighting conditions.

    Of course, in either case, using the touch screen to interact with the system should only be done while the vehicle is not in motion.

    I hope the Ontario government will take this into account in clarifying their rules and will allow windshiel;d mounting under the rear view mirror.

  36. Hi Yanic: Pursuant to this law(Bill 118 – Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act, 2009) there are no demerit points accumulated with the conviction under this new law. There is only a fine. Remember to always http://fightyourtickets.ca

  37. It just so happened that as soon as I was pulling in to a 4 way stop my wife called me on my cell phone. I of course answered it at the same time a police officer was parked at the same 4 way stop. Of course he pulls me over and hands me a $155 ticket for using a held communication device. Now, I agree what I did is considerred illegal in Ontario, but what if it were an emergency? Either way, I am willing to pay this set fine and will not complain. My big question is does this ticket accumulate any demerit points on my driver’s licence? Thank you.

  38. Hi Zazzy: there are certain cellphone manufacturers that sell cellphones that are capable of being used
    for quick or rapid conversations and can be compared to handheld two way radios or walkie-talkies.
    The Legislation you refer to is Bill 118 – Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act, 2009
    and it refers to “hand held communication devices”

    How can a driver, operating a motor vehicle in Ontario, make or accept a phone call without violating this law?

    If driver’s, driving in Ontario want to initiate outgoing phone calls or accept incoming phone calls, the law provides for the use of hands-free devices (ie.-headsets, bluetooth technology, OnStar, etc.).

    If you want to use your communication (that is not a hands-free device) or entertainment device, in compliance with the law,
    while you are behind the wheel in a motor vehicle, you must meet these conditions:
    – the motor vehicle you are operating, is off the roadway or is lawfully parked on the roadway.
    – the motor vehicle you are operating, is not in motion (this doesn’t include a “traffic light” or “stop sign”)
    – the motor vehicle you are operating, is not impeding traffic.

    If you use your cell phone as a phone or walkie-talkie or a hand-held two way radio, you are violating
    the law (unless you are using bluetooth or wireless technology to initiate or to receive a call) or you have pulled
    your vehicle off of the road and you are lawfully parked.

    Remember to always http://fightyourtickets.ca

  39. Need clarification. What about cell phone that have 10-4 capablities. Can they be used while driving down the road? Can’t find this information online.

  40. Hi Barb: See Bill 118: http://www.ontla.on.ca/bills/bills-files/39_Parliament/Session1/b118ra.pdf

    It reads as follows:

    Driving a motor vehicle with the display screen of a television, computer or other device visible to the driver is prohibited. The display screens of global positioning system navigation devices, hand-held communication and similar prescribed devices, commercially-used logistical transportation tracking systems, collision avoidance systems and instruments, gauges and systems providing information regarding the status of systems of the motor vehicle are exempted from the prohibition. Drivers of ambulances, fire department vehicles and police department vehicles are also exempted. The Minister of Transportation may provide for further exemptions by regulation.

    Driving while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device or electronic entertainment device is prohibited. Use of such devices in the hands-free mode is exempted. Use of such devices while the motor vehicle is off the travelled part of the road, not in motion and not impeding traffic is exempted. Drivers of ambulances, fire department vehicles and police department vehicles are exempted from the prohibitions respecting hand-held wireless communication devices, as are any drivers using the devices to contact ambulance, police or fire department emergency services. The Minister of Transportation may prohibit holding or using other devices by regulation and may provide for further exemptions by regulation.

    The intention of this legislation is to stop motorist’s from being distracted (while looking at their cellphone or other electronic gadgets and taking their eyes off of the road) while driving.

    The following Provinces: Newfoundland & Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia have passed similar legislation and before you enter those Provinces, it would be a good idea to quickly review that legislation, see: http://fightyourtickets.ca/cell-phones-ban-effective-october-2009-on-ontarios-highways-streets-roads/ . New York has passed similar legislation (on March 16, 2009 in a one day blitz, law enforcement handed out 9016 $120.00 summonses to drivers who were using their cellphones, see: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/03/13/2009-03-13_cops_hand_out_9000_tickets_to_drivers_ta.html ) but would not issue tickets for the situation you described.

    In the State of Ohio, on the other hand, has adopted legislation which strictly prohibits drivers operating motor vehicles from wearing earphones, headsets, or earplugs in both ears. Ontario hasn’t passed this legislation yet.

    Bluetooth headset devices shouldn’t be a problem. Remember to always http://fightyourtickets.ca

  41. Hi,

    There are a few bluetooth devices that have two ear pieces and can be used as a normal bluetooth headset would be in addition to acting as stero headphones for bluetooth enabled audio systems. Are these legal to use while dirivng for answering calls only in Ontario?

    Thanks

  42. Hi Charanjeet: the Provincial Government is enacting this law (Bill 118) on October 26, 2009, but will be providing a “grace period”, (between Oct.26/09 and Jan.31/10) which will act as a period of time to educate or inform the public about this new law, which will be strictly enforced commencing February 1, 2010 see: http://fightyourtickets.ca/cell-phones-ban-effective-october-2009-on-ontarios-highways-streets-roads/

    You can have your GPS properly mounted on your dashboard (although the McGuinty government has yet to clarify what “properly mounted” actually means – which could be problematic for alot of motorists, come February 1, 2010). Hopefully between October 26/09 and January 31, 2010 the government (Ministry of Transportation’s Minister Jim Bradley) clarifies what constitutes “properly mounted” GPS. There are all kinds of distractions within every motor vehicle, which requires ones attention, even briefly.

    Remember to always http://fightyourtickets.ca

  43. My general understanding is that perhaps the rules mean that the GPS system available on the cellphones is not to be used as some drivers have the habit of holding the cellphones, looking at the GPS navigation ( checking the route to destination) while driving. If the GPS is mounted on the dashboard ( which means, it is not hand-held ), then it should be ok. If you consider distraction, then the rear view mirror is also a distraction while driving. But you need a split second to have a glance on the rear view.

    Your comments?

  44. Hi Maria: You would only receive six (6) points if you were convicted of “careless driving” pursuant to section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act. This is what the Police use to charge motorists with when they committed acts that fell under the heading of “careless driving” ie – using your cellphone when operating a motor vehicle, which caused the driver to be distracted and affected the safety of themselves and others sharing the road. Now that this new law ( See sections 78 (1) to 78.1 (subsections 1-8 inclusive) of the Highway Traffic Act) has been passed, police now have the option to charge motorists under this law (which, upon conviction, will not come with demerit points, but may well cost the driver up to a $500 fine).

    The Police still have the option (if the driver is driving carelessly while speaking on their cell phone, etc.) to charge the operator of the motor vehicle with careless driving, rather than just ticket them under sections 78(1) to 78.1 subsections 1-8 inclusive of the HTA.

    Careless Driving – Section 130 of the HTA, upon conviction 6 demerit points, fine up to $2000 and possible incarceration for up to 6 months – Huge increase in insurance premiums (potential facility rated) or loss of insurance altogether

    Caught using a hand-held device (to: view,talk, listen, emailing (reading or sending or writing) or text messaging (reading or sending or writing) or observing a GPS (global positioning system) unit (not properly affixed to the dashboard) while operating a motor vehicle (you are situated behind the steering wheel of the vehicle and are operating it and have care and control of the motor vehicle) in Ontario, Section 78 (1) to 78.1 (subsections 1-8 inclusive) of the HTA, fine up to $500, risk of insurance premiums being increased.

    I hope that this clarifies the difference for you. Remember to always http://fightyourtickets.ca

  45. I am really confused. It seems like the cell phone law 78.1 carries 6 demerit points but only if you also get charged with carless driving. What is you get charged under 78.1 and get the $500 fine. Are you still liable for any demerit points? I am so confused!

  46. Hi Charles: Go to the Highway Traffic Act (at: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90h08_e.htm#BK0 ) – under General Interpretations found under section 1 (1) of the Act and look under Definitions:

    1. (1) In this Act,

    “bicycle” includes a tricycle and unicycle but does not include a motor assisted bicycle; (“bicyclette”)

    “motor assisted bicycle” means a bicycle,

    (a) that is fitted with pedals that are operable at all times to propel the bicycle,

    (b) that weighs not more than fifty-five kilograms,

    (c) that has no hand or foot operated clutch or gearbox driven by the motor and transferring power to the driven wheel,

    (d) that has an attached motor driven by electricity or having a piston displacement of not more than fifty cubic centimetres, and

    (e) that does not have sufficient power to enable the bicycle to attain a speed greater than 50 kilometres per hour on level ground within a distance of 2 kilometres from a standing start; (“cyclomoteur”)

    “motor vehicle” includes an automobile, motorcycle, motor assisted bicycle unless otherwise indicated in this Act, and any other vehicle propelled or driven otherwise than by muscular power, but does not include a street car, or other motor vehicles running only upon rails, or a motorized snow vehicle, traction engine, farm tractor, self-propelled implement of husbandry or road-building machine within the meaning of this Act; (“véhicule automobile”)

    There are many restrictions on bikes, Go to the page on this site:
    Green Alternatives – Motorcycles, Mopeds and e-Bikes
    Which can be located at the following link: http://fightyourtickets.ca/law/motorcycles-and-mopeds/

    Here are some of the offences, the sections of the H.T.A section that apply, the set fines, the court fees and the Victim Fine Surcharges and the total owing (after adding up the set fine, court fee and the victim fine surcharge):
    Offence H.T.A Section Set Court Victim Total

    Bicycle* Fine Fee Fine

    Careless Driving 130 $260.00 $5.00 $60.00 $325.00

    Red Light – Fail to Stop 144 (18) $150.00 $5.00 $25.00 $180.00

    Disobey Stop Sign – Fail to Stop 136 (1) (a)* $85.00 $5.00 $20.00 $110.00

    Improper Lighting 62 (17)* $20.00 $5.00 $10.00 $35.00

    Improper Brakes 64 (3)* $85.00 $5.00 $20.00 $110.00

    No Bell or Defective Bell 75 (5) $85.00 $5.00 $20.00 $110.00

    Failure to Wear Proper Helmet 104 (2.1)* $60.00 $5.00 $20.00 $85.00

    Failure to Yield to Pedestrian 140 (1) (a) $85.00 $5.00 $20.00 $110.00

    Drive Wrong Way – One Way Traffic 153 $85.00 $5.00 $20.00 $110.00

    Bicycle -Fail to Turn Out to Right when Overtaken 148 (6)* $85.00 $5.00 $20.00 $110.00

    Cyclist -Ride in or along Crosswalk 144 (29)* $85.00 $5.00 $20.00 $110.00

    Cyclist – Fail to Stop to Identify Self 218 (2)* $85.00 $5.00 $20.00 $110.00

    Ride two (2) on a Bicycle 178 (2)* $85.00 $5.00 $20.00 $110.00

    * specific to the operation of bicycles and to bicyclists

    Highway Traffic Act -Section 218 (1) Cyclist to Identify Self A police officer, who pulls over a cyclist, whom he/she believes has contravened the Highway Traffic Act or a section of the Municipal Act, has the right to ask the cyclist to identify themselves. All the cyclist must do, is to provide their name and address. No affirmative obligation exists for a bicycle rider to carry identity documentation. The bicycle rider meets his/her obligation under this section of the Highway Traffic Act, by simply providing their correct name and correct address. If the police officer wants to generate a ticket, it should contain the same name and address provided to him or her, by the bicycle rider. Section 218 (2) states:

    Cyclist to Identify Self

    218. (1) A police officer who finds any person contravening this Act or any municipal by-law regulating traffic while in charge of a bicycle may require that person to stop and to provide identification of himself or herself.

    (2) Every person who is required to stop, by a police officer acting under subsection (1), shall stop and identify himself or herself to the police officer.

    (3) For the purposes of this section, giving one’s correct name and address is sufficient identification.

    (4) A police officer may arrest without warrant any person who does not comply with subsection (2).

    A case decided in the Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa, Ontario on October 3, 2007 by Justice D. J. Power deals with section 218 (4) and Section 24 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in a case called Regina versus Daniel Robert Cassidy. Justice Power found that there were no valid grounds for the police officer, pursuant to subsection 4 of section 218 of the Highway Traffic Act to arrest Mr. Cassidy, since Mr. Cassidy had already provided his name, residential address and date to the police officer.

    Ontario Regulation 630 -Vehicles on Controlled-Access Highways – speaks to bicycles, motor assisted bicycles and certain motorcycles that are not permitted on specific highways in Ontario.

    See the number of bicycle accidents in Toronto in 2008 (including the worst nine (9) intersections for accidents)

    Bill 126, Road Safety Act, 2009 (Royal Assent received on April 23, 2009) provides some new sections/definitions to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act regarding bicycles, power-assisted bicycles:

    The definition of bicycle now includes “power-assisted bicycles”. You must now be a minimum of sixteen (16) years old to drive a power or motor-assisted bicycle. You must now have the proper lights, reflectors and lamps while operating a power-assisted bicycle and at the same time, must be wearing a bicycle or motorcycle helmet. See paper from the Legislative Library which asks the question “When do Ontario Acts & Regulations come into force”?

  47. It appears this law (see above, definition of “motor” vehicles) does not apply to bicyclists. Is that really true? Just as driving drunk is okay if you are “driving” a bike? What other exceptions are there for bicycles from obeying the “Rules of the Road”?

  48. Hi Thomas: There are some people that believe that driver’s are distracted by the conversation itself (especially one that is emotionally charged), in addition to the act of picking up the cell phone and dialing the phone number or picking up the cell phone and answering it. This may be the first stage in the total elimination of driver’s having the opportunity to interact with their communication devices.

    The Legislation 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.

    The government has stated that GPS units, used for the purposes of navigation, will be exempted from this section of the Highway Traffic Actas long as they are mounted on the “dashboard” of the vehicle.

    We can only hope that during the government’s promise to educate or to provide information about Bill 118, to be introduced in Ontario in October 2009, that the rules about where things have to be mounted and why are clarified. This new law has to be explained in a way that makes sense, to ensure we are not all receiving tickets because we don’t understand the requirements of the new law. Remember to always http://fightyourtickets.ca

  49. Hi Oleboy: The McGuinty Provincial Government has not made it clear yet as to what would constitute “properly mounted” other than to say that the GPS unit must be mounted on the dashboard. I hope that the government will specify what the legislation demands during their education/information campaign before it is introduced in October. Remember to always http://fightyourtickets.ca

  50. I am a supporter of this new legislation as it pertains to cellphone use. I have used a hands free set for many years believing that it allowed me to operate my vehicle in the safest manner possible and still field the many calls I receive on a daily basis. The restrictions on DVD players and handheld games make obvious sense to me but I am, however, perplexed by the notion that my windshield mounted gps causes a safety risk if on the windshield but not a risk if it is mounted on the dashboard. I see that as splitting hairs. My gps unit is placed on my windshield just below the rear view mirror which makes the action of glancing at it similar to that of checking my rear view mirror. If the concern is entering data while driving then the most logical step would be to ban them outright since I can reach the unit whether on the dashboard or on the windshield. My two cents.

  51. Hi Ethan: Generally when regulators (in this case the McGuinty Provincial Government) implement laws, especially when it involves Traffic or Motor Acts, they provide exceptions or exemptions to emergency services, providing the rationale that it is the nature of that particular type of work that warrants special circumstances. I think that there is also a presumption that these types of emergency vehicles always carry at least two people (a driver and a passenger) and that the driver need not be distracted, as the passenger can provide navigation and specific instructions.

    I know that years ago (I would have to check to see if the exemption is still on the books) taxi drivers’ operating in Toronto were exempt from wearing seat belts when they had a fare (a customer) in the vehicle. The customer riding in the taxi was still required pursuant to Highway Traffic Act to wear a seat belt, but the taxi driver, transporting the customer, did not have to wear a seat belt. The reason that the exemption at the time existed was a matter of the health and safety, of the taxi driver. Apparently in the past, the customer (the fare) riding in the taxi would use the shoulder strap portion of the driver’s seat belt to strangle the driver, either during a robbery or an assault. It was with this reason in mind, that taxi driver’s are required to wear a seat belt when there is no fare in the car, but are were provided an exemption when they were transporting a fare (a customer) in their vehicles.

    You are not alone in your opinion Ethan. When laws are created and implemented and there are exemptions granted to some and not to others; the Government is obligated to provide an easy to follow reasonable explanation for the differences. Transparency in any decision making process is vital if you expect the majority of the electorate to follow rules and regulations, which apply to a majority, but not to a minority. What is the criteria necessary to meet, in order to be eligible for an exemption? What were the reasons or rationale underlying the Government’s decision to grant emergency services vehicles an exemption? Are they any less “distracted” then the rest of the population, while essentially working out of their vehicles for a shift?

    Other groups will be coming forward and arguing that they too should be provided with an exemption from this new law. It will be difficult for these groups to lobby the government if they are not sure what the established criterion is, that needs to be met, in order to be eligible for an exemption. This type of information should be common public knowledge. Remember to always http://fightyourtickets.ca

  52. “Those who are exempt from this new Ontario law: Police, Firefighters and Paramedics.”

    Really? I’m sorry, but they are just as much at risk of getting in a car accident when using these devices as the regular populace; special treatment for a badge, go figure. Not to mention that most of the service calls come through 2-way radio, why do they need a cell phone? If they do, pull over like the rest of us or get a head set.

    I would almost argue that in a heightened mental state (in emergency situations, etc), it would be more dangerous for firefighters, policemen and paramedics to operate a cellphone non-handsfree.

  53. Hi Clarence: Yes. The new law that will be implemented in October 2009 applies to service vehicles that use a two way radio to communicate. So far, the Government has provided exemptions to police vehicles, fire department vehicles and ambulance vehicles and there may be more forthcoming. No doubt other groups will come forward and plead their special circumstances to the government in hopes of obtaining an exemption under this new law.

    Exemption by Regulation:
    See section 78.(4) which states the following: “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”

    The definition of “motor vehicle” under section 78.1 (8) is as follows:
    includes a street car, motorized snow vehicle, farm tractor, self-propelled implement of husbandry and road-building machine.

    You can use a cellular phone or a two way radio under the following conditions:

    Section 78.1 (6) of the Highway Traffic Act, reads as follows:

    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

    You can be charged as much as $500 a ticket, but will not accumulate any demerit points (unlike other jurisdictions) as a result.

    Take care and remember to always http://fightyourtickets.ca

  54. I was wondering about service vehicles who operate a two way radio , does that apply to them to ?

    Thank You

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