Bill 118 – An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act to prohibit the use of devices with display screensand hand-held communication and entertainment devices and to amend the Public Vehicles Act with respect to car pool vehicles – received Royal Assent on April 23, 2009 – see sections 78 (1) to 78.1 (subsections 1-8 inclusive) of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. On October 26, 2009 this law was implemented and enforced in Ontario. Currently holding or speaking/texting on your cellphone will result in a fine of $155.00 only and will not attract any demerit points.
This meant you could no longer pick-up a cellphone or use a cellphone well in the driver’s seat in a motor vehicle, unless the driver’s vehicle is properly and legally parked. If you are stopped at a “stop sign” or “red light” and you are seen holding your cellphone, speaking on your cellphone or text messaging, this is contrary to the law and you will receive a ticket. Using a wireless blue tooth earpiece to make or receive phone calls complies with the law and the driver will not receive a ticket.
On Friday evening on July 22, 2011 Ottilie Mason was in the process of dropping off her six (6) year old daughter Delilah’s babysitter in the Kensington Market area. As Ottilie Mason was driving in the Dundas St. W/Spadina Road area with her daughter, she came across Toronto’s 64th Mayor, 42-year-old Rob Ford. Rob Ford was elected by Torontonians on October 25, 2011, he actually took office on December 1, 2011.
Ottilie Mason who is an artist and designer alleges that as she was driving eastbound on Dundas St. W she observed a beige minivan bearing the licence plate “ROBFORD” with the Mayor driving this vehicle. She alleges that she observed the Mayor of Toronto speaking on his cellphone.
At the intersection of Dundas St. W. & Spadina Ottilie Mason claims that she drove her vehicle beside the Mayor’s vehicle and noticed he was on his cellphone and that both Ottilie and her daughter Delilah provided the Mayor with a thumbs down gesture. Ottilie Mason followed this up with rolling down her vehicle’s window and said “Get off your cellphone”!
She alleges that Mayor Rob Ford did not roll down his window, but did take the time to give her the “one finger salute” ( a.k.a “the finger” ) in response to her demand, and continued his cellphone conversation.
Ottilie Mason was so shocked at the Mayor’s response that she had to drive around the block to calm down. After she collected herself, she posted the entire experience on Facebook.
The Mayor’s office eventually confirmed that the Mayor was using his cellphone while he was operating his vehicle, but denied that he flipped Ottilie Mason the bird.
Police, through police spokesperson Mark Pugash, have declined to press or pursue charges against the Mayor for violating the Highway Traffic Act – see see sections 78 (1) to 78.1.