The Guelph Police Service are reminding drivers that not only is it illegal to use a hand-held device while driving, it is illegal to hold a hand-held device while driving as well.
The Ontario Court of Appeal released two decisions on Sept. 27, R. v. Pizzurro and R. v. Kazemi, where the motorists were using a hand-held wireless cellphone while driving. The ruling upholds section 78.1(1) of the Highway Traffic Act.
“Police do not have to prove use of the device, only that the person had it in their hand. Only when wireless communication devices are in hands-free mode may they be used by drivers,” states a release from Guelph Police.
The definition of “motorized vehicle” includes snow mobiles and tractors.
Motorists are allowed to contact ambulance, police or fire department emergency services by cellphone while driving, but Guelph Police still encourage drivers to pull off the road when possible even in emergency situations.
A driver may use a cellphone when a motor vehicle is off the roadway, is not in motion and is not impeding traffic.
Drivers can make calls and answer cellphone calls if the phone is mounted inside the vehicle and the driver can use it hands-free. Drivers can speak on blue-tooth devices while driving as well. They may not watch portable DVD players or other entertainment devices while driving.
The fine is $155.
Drivers may also be charged with distracted driving, careless driving or dangerous driving if police see fit. Penalties for these infractions include six demerit points, fines of up to $2,000, jail for up to six months, and/or license suspension for up to two years.
The OPP has reported that distracted driving is a factor in 30 to 50 per cent of traffic collisions.