Ontario's ban on hand-held devices while driving took effect on October 26, 2009.
The law makes it illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial or email using hand-held cell phones and other hand-held communications and entertainment devices. The law also prohibits drivers from viewing display screens unrelated to the driving task, such as laptops or DVD players, while driving. The use of hands-free devices is still permitted, and drivers may use hand-held devices to call 9-1-1.
'Hands-free' use means that apart from activating or deactivating the device, it is not held during use and the driver is not physically interacting with or manipulating it. Actions such as dialing or scrolling through contacts, or manually programming a GPS device, for example, are not allowed.
Drivers caught using a hand-held device will face a set fine of $225 plus a victim surcharge and court fees for a total of $280. Drivers who challenge the ticket in court face fines of up to $500.
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January 29, 2010: Distracted Driving Fines Start February 1
Driving requires your full attention.
Many drivers today tend to view driving, especially in familiar environments, as a simple everyday task that requires minimal attention. In fact, driving is a complex task that requires your full attention every time you get behind the wheel. At the very least you are:
- Operating a heavy piece of machinery at high speed
- Navigating across changing terrain
- Calculating speeds and distances
- Responding to other drivers, signs signals and obstacles around you
The dangers of distracted driving are real and the evidence speaks for itself: drivers who use cell phones are four times more likely to be in a collision than a driver who is focused on the road.
Cell phones and other wireless communication and entertainment devices are a significant visual and cognitive distraction for drivers, with average "eyes off the road" times that increase the risk of collision considerably. At highway speed, a driver sending a simple text message travels the length of a football field without looking at the road.