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No Hand-Held Devices In Ontario Cars 584

Posted by kdawson
from the hands-where-i-can-see-'em dept.
NIK282000 writes "To cut down on accidents caused by drivers who aren't paying attention, in Ontario it is now a ticketable offense to text, email, or navigate with your GPS while driving. But it seems to me that they have thrown the baby out with the bathwater, because it is now also a $500 fine to change your radio station, change songs on your MP3 player, or even drink your morning coffee. It can also be enforced to the point where changing the climate controls on your dash can get you fined because it requires you to take your hands off the wheel. Though this was a good idea, it seems to have been taken a little too far."
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No Hand-Held Devices In Ontario Cars

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  • RTFS (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hammer (14284) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:08AM (#29894633) Journal

    The law applies to handheld electronic devices. So unless your coffee mug is electronic or your climate control is handheld you are probably fine with coffee and a nice temp in your car

  • by McHenry Boatride (1661199) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:08AM (#29894637)
    My car has simple controls on the steering wheel to control the tuning and volume of the radio/CD player. I would have thought it possible to similarly mount simple A/C contols. Trying to retune the radio, or even just adjust the volume, can be an uneccessary distraction if you have to look away from the road at the controls.
  • Re:RTFS (Score:5, Informative)

    by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NoSPam.barbara-hudson.com> on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:24AM (#29894727) Journal

    However, the biggest problem I have with this new law, is not that it exists, I live in Ontario and cheer that it is in place, is that it does not apply to police officers. They are allowed to use hand held devices (such as cell phones) while they are driving. What is it that makes a copper less likely to be distracted by a hand held device than you or me?

    The law contains exceptions for EVERYONE to use a cell phone to call 911. So whether it's you calling the police, or the police calling the police, it's the same rules.

    FTFA:

    Hands-free Bluetooth devices are O.K., and you'll be allowed to use any phone in the event of an emergency to call 911

    I don't see any real problem here ... the REAL problem I see is that you get bus drivers, etc., still yacking on their cell phones despite the laws in place.

  • Terrible Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:39AM (#29894815)
    Good gawd, that summary is terrible. To say it's not even vaguely accurate is an understatement. The list of what is and what is not allowed is available here [gov.on.ca].

    Copy/pasting for those not interested in downloading the pdf:

    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 cell phones, smartphones
    * Hand-held electronic entertainment devices such as iPods, or other portable MP3 players, or portable games
    * Texting and emailing
    * Viewing display screens on devices not required for driving such as a laptop or DVD player

    What would be allowed while driving
    * Hands-free wireless communications devices with an earpiece or Bluetooth 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 commercial vehicles
  • Re:RTFS (Score:4, Informative)

    by KillerBob (217953) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:04AM (#29894931)

    The law contains exceptions for EVERYONE to use a cell phone to call 911. So whether it's you calling the police, or the police calling the police, it's the same rules.

    The law also contains a blanket exemption for *all* emergency vehicles. Fire/Ambulance as well as Police.

    As for the why, it's because those emergency vehicles need to be able to use the radio to stay in touch with dispatch and be able to actually perform their emergency services. There's an exemption for professional uses as well... so that truck drivers and bus drivers can use their radios, too, but I don't think it applies to would-be "professionals" with a mobile office using the cell phone.

    Irregardless, TFS is completely wrong and FUD. The law applies to hand-held devices. Cell phones, Nintendos, portable DVDs, GPS devices, etc.. It does not apply to drinking coffee, changing the radio station, or even people who like to drive with one arm hanging out the window.

  • by KillerBob (217953) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:15AM (#29895003)

    Yeah, 'blame Canada' - to put it in context, most Canadians west of Ontario, view Ontario in the same way most Americans view France - that is, hopelessly and utterly broken. So stuff like this isn't a surprise - I don't mean to troll, but those easterners are about as blissfully statist as you can get and still be called a democracy.

    You do realize that this particular law is in place in Ontario and Quebec because we were following suit from Alberta and BC?

  • Re:Terrible Summary (Score:4, Informative)

    by supernova_hq (1014429) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:26AM (#29895077)
    Leave it to kdawson to take a simple, long deserved law, have a stroke and start spewing FUD faster than Microsoft at an Ubuntu release party.
  • Re:RTFS (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:11AM (#29895907)

    Irregardless, TFS is completely wrong and FUD. The law applies to hand-held devices. Cell phones, Nintendos, portable DVDs, GPS devices, etc.. It does not apply to drinking coffee, changing the radio station, or even people who like to drive with one arm hanging out the window.

    Irregardless? We let the illiterate on slashdot now?

  • by T Murphy (1054674) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:22AM (#29896079) Journal
    I'll bet far more people drive and use cell phones than drive and bring a baby along. Not to mention many people agree cell phone use while driving is a risk and should be legally controlled- while most people will agree a baby in the car is a distraction, there will be less popular support for active controls against it. An unpopular law will be ignored, and may make the situation worse (see copyright if you need an example).
  • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:24AM (#29896097) Journal
    I call bullshit on this article summary. The legislation specifically targets hand held electronic devices, and specifically excludes devices that are built directly into the vehicle. You are explicitly allowed take your hands off the wheel to adjust your radio, your climate control, your CB radio, etc. You are explicitly allowed to use your GPS if it is attached to your dash. You are allowed to drink a coffee, you are allowed to eat a chocolate bar, you are allowed to smoke a cigarette. Just don't smoke a cigarette with one hand and drink a coffee with the other while driving with your knee.
  • Re:RTFS (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jaysyn (203771) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `todhsals+nysyaj'> on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:48AM (#29896427) Homepage Journal

    Cell phones aren't police radios. The original poster wasn't talking about police radios.

  • by m.ducharme (1082683) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @10:04AM (#29896685)

    Everyone has a right to travel. No one has the right to endanger others.

    I generally agree with your post, and normally I don't like picking nits, but, in Canada, mobility rights are enshrined in the Constitution.

    6. (1) Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.
    (2) Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right
    (a) to move to and take up residence in any province; and
    (b) to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.

    There are some qualifications to those rights that allow provinces to make laws that require a person to be resident in a province before they can collect social support, and there's protection for affirmative action laws, but otherwise, a Canadian is free to go where she wishes.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Informative)

    by m.ducharme (1082683) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @10:08AM (#29896729)

    This law has nothing to do with drinking coffee while driving, despite what the summary says. It's specifically targeted and hand-held electronics devices.

  • by geminidomino (614729) * on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @10:10AM (#29896757) Journal

    Remember its a policeman's word against yours - at least with two of the buggers you've got a chance of one of them being straight-up.

    Wow... across the ocean but it sounds like another planet.

    Over here, there are three mutually exclusive groups of people, as far as a cop is concerned.

    1) Cops.
    2) Cops' families.
    3) Bad guys.

    Making there be 2 of them is padding the odds for them, not us.

  • by cecille (583022) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @10:15AM (#29896827)
    Agreed. Link to the official site - http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/distracted-driving/index.shtml [gov.on.ca]. Hand-held communication devices are banned. You can use hands-free. You can use items attached to the dash. You can buy a 10-dollar mount for your iPod and that's acceptable. If the GPS is attached, that's also OK. And unless someone has managed to get coffee or a chocolate bar re-classified as a "communication" device, those aren't even touched by the new law.

    But, you know, no need to get facts in the way of a good story. I mean, it's not like you could have found this stuff at the top link in google or anything.
  • by mini me (132455) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @10:58AM (#29897513)

    you are allowed to smoke a cigarette.

    Unless your vehicle is considered a place of business (like a highway tractor, for instance) in which case it is against the law to smoke a cigarette while driving in Ontario.

  • by mini me (132455) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @11:02AM (#29897555)

    According to that website, as long as your iPod is connected to your car stereo, there is no need for a mount. I also noticed that the exact wording of the law is absent from the website, which seems rather odd, and makes it difficult to verify the claim.

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @11:00PM (#29906003) Homepage

    The police DO have to gather evidence and present their case if you choose to fight the ticket.

    No they DO NOT! What ever gave you that idea?

    I contested a speeding ticket many years ago because I honestly was not speeding. In fact, I was the only one on the road driving exactly 40mph in a 40mph zone. This is in Texas mind you where it's not uncommon to be given a leniency of 5mph over. Perhaps my biggest mistake was that I decided to represent myself. But none the less, it was his word against mine. No physical evidence required.

    BTW, the judge sided with the Cop....naturally.

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