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Hands off the cell phone while driving in Ontario,Canada

Tue Apr 28, 2009 - 7:43 AM EDT - By Jay Gross

From Mobile Syrup, a Canadian news outlet, here comes the bad news for people who must use their mobile devices while driving.

It was not that long ago that this was only speculation. Today the Ontario government officially passed Bill 118, "Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act" that bans people from using hand-held communication and entertainment devices while driving. This law will take effect this fall. The bill states, '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.'

The online publication estimated fines would be up to $500 if you're caught talking, e-mailing or sending text messages. If doing so puts other people in danger, you could be fined up to $1,000, lose six demerit points, have your driver's license suspended, and even do time.

According to Syrup, Transportation Minister Jim Bradley said "We want drivers to focus on the task of driving: driving safely must always be a driver's primary task and responsibility: anything less is unacceptable. Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel - it is one of the basic tenets of safe driving."

Many U.S. states and many other countries have done the same. I reported on California's effort, which went into effect last year. As with Ontario, the solution in California is to use a headset or a hands-free device to talk on the phone while driving. That won't satisfy your Urge To Text, but it'll get you past the traffic cops without a ticket. Maybe even save you a trip to the emergency room. Or worse.

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