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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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  • by fridaynightsmoke (1589903) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:07AM (#29894627) Homepage

    People here have been ticketed for eating apples or sipping water, while stopped at traffic lights.

    Eventually, somebody will realise that people with the first frigging clue about driving (and a self-preservation instinct) do these things WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO. It's the people without the first clue of driving who need the attention of the authorities, and these people are ingineous at finding ways of being dangerous while driving exactly 'by the book'. Cops should pull people who are obviously being a danger (all over the road, near misses etc etc), rather than based on a tickbox system (is speed >X? Is driver doing activity Y?) as seems to be increasingly the case in many areas.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:12AM (#29894663)
      It's easier and more profitable to ticket almost law abiding citizens than hard core criminals.
      • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

          by cecille (583022)
          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
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by mini me (132455)

            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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mini me (132455)

          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.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by TimTucker (982832)
            Or unless you're using an "electronic cigarette" in an attempt to stop smoking.
    • True, but that would require law enforcement actually out and patrolling. With a tickbox system, they can just sit on the shoulder with one eye on the Radar gun, and another on the lookout for those hooligans who ride in the HOV lane with a single rider.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by shabble (90296)

      On a related note...

      Do none of these places have an offense of "driving without due care or attention" which would suffice, rather than continuously create bespoke laws to legislate against every new device that comes out that could cause drivers to, erm, drive without due care or attention?

      (And, yes, the UK does have the first offense, but they still felt the need to create a special law for mobile phone usage.)

      • by fredjh (1602699) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:05AM (#29894935)

        Politicians create additional laws so they can take credit for them. Yes, most places already have these laws, but it's better for the politicians to create new ones instead of reminding people about the existing ones or encouraging better enforcement, which wouldn't get them much publicity.

        • by Runaway1956 (1322357) * on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:22AM (#29895049) Homepage Journal

          You're not wrong, but just a little off target. People, being idiots, have picked up on all these electronic devices, and moved them into their cars. People, being idiots, have killed other people, as a result of these moronic decisions. To be more accurate, people have CHOSEN to distract themselves while driving with electronic devices. These decisions have been met with a public outcry - "There ought to be a law!" Citizens around the world are demanding that drivers pay attention to their driving, or don't drive.

          The idiots have argued that their electronic devices are no more distracting than the dozens of activities that non-idiots engage in while driving. Many idiots say that reaching down to adjust the stereo volume WITHOUT taking their eyes off the road, is just as distracting as texting. Because they are idiots, the argument makes sense to them. (Meanwhile, no one suggests that complicated sound systems simply do not belong in an automobile - all of my sons have stereos in their dashboards that I can't figure out without parking the car, and studying the damned things!)

          So, the whole thing is handed off to the politicians. Idiots vote for politicians. Some politicians are idiots. We get idiot laws.

          Welcome to the land of idiots, where laws are designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator amongst the voters.

          • by TheKidWho (705796) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:40AM (#29895175)

            Except for the fact that accidents per mile driven have been decreasing and are at an all time low in the USA...

            But you keep calling other people idiots.

            • by Bert64 (520050) <bert&slashdot,firenzee,com> on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:47AM (#29895241) Homepage

              Less accidents, despite the increase in electronic devices...

              And this has nothing to do with the fact that cars these days have better safety features?

              Also a device like a GPS may actually decrease accidents, because it reduces stress... You no longer have to worry about getting lost, and try to read a map as you drive (you used to see this a lot - people with maps open on their steering wheel as they drove), you just relax and let the GPS guide you, no stress.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                So true. I 3 my GPS so much for this. Can't tell you how many times I missed an unclear exit. With a GPS, no worries, I'll catch the next one and not be lost. With handwritten/printed directions I used to use, I'd be SCREWED. Peace of mind is great, however, one must still be diligent. Becoming too relaxed while driving often causes accidents. This is why most accidents occur near the home, as people are in familiar territory and let their guard down.
            • by fafaforza (248976) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @08:51AM (#29895715)

              It could just as easily mean better road design and better technology in cars as far as antilock brakes, stability control and tires, which can get someone out of a jam better than the clunkers of yore.

            • by Runaway1956 (1322357) * on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @10:46AM (#29897305) Homepage Journal

              Anyone who fails to understand that his undivided attention belongs on his SURROUNDINGS, rather than his toys, is indeed an idiot. Anyone care to explain away those pilots who flew 150 miles past their destination, only to have to admit they were on their laptop computers? There have been studies on people's ability to multi-task. Everyone's assumptions have been blown away by the studies - google for it if you care to. Women multi-task better than men, that has always been true, and the studies bear that out. But, even the best multi-taskers aren't as good as they THINK they are. One of the little bits of data found in the studies, is that those people who THINK they are great at it, are actually worse at multi-tasking than many people who don't claim to be good.

              But, studies aside - common sense should tell people that ALL distractions should be laid aside while operating a motor vehicle. Only the most momentary distractions should be permitted, like reaching for your drink. Even that isn't tolerated very well where people are serious about their driving. There was an article some months back about Autobahn drivers. Some of those Germans asked why ANYONE would even WANT a cupholder in their car. Getting behind the wheel means driving, not relaxing, or entertaining yourself, or eating.

              In short, SHUT UP AND DRIVE!! Use the phone at home.

      • We do in Ontario too. I think it might be that the charge for reckless driving is too steep so people don't get dinged for mere irresponsible driving.
      • by AndGodSed (968378) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:12AM (#29894987) Homepage Journal

        Because "Driving without care or attention" has two possible problems.

        1 - It is easier for a cop to say "I am fining you because you are talking on your cell while driving" as opposed to "I am fining you for driving without care or attention because you are talking on your cellphone while driving" and to make the point without wasting both parties time.

        2 - "Driving without care or attention" leaves too much room for subjective argumentation - "But I can drive just as well while on the cell as when I am not!" and in (1) above it can become really problematic.

        • taking a whole 5 seconds to explain why they are ticketing them, vs 3 seconds of explanation. OH THE TRAGEDY! where ever will i get those 2 seconds back?! DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS WILL DO TO MY PORTFOLIO!?? my stock options? YOU SICK MONSTER! /rant
      • by itsdapead (734413) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:20AM (#29895035)

        Do none of these places have an offense of "driving without due care or attention" which would suffice,

        Yeah, but that involves the police gathering evidence and making a case that a driver was not in control of their vehicle. These new offences are mainly "fixed penalty" jobs that bypass all that tedious stuff about "due process" and "a fair hearing", and are absolutely brilliant for soft-targetting people sitting in traffic jams (much easier than catching that idiot in a BMW as he zooms past).

        On the bright side, maybe eventually the police will be given powers to simply arrest anybody driving a white van or a large German car.

        • by aicrules (819392) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @08:53AM (#29895725)
          Fixed penalty only if you just pay it. Now, I'm talking strictly U.S. experience here, but you have the right to your day in court for ANY ticket. 99% of the people wave the right to a hearing to prove innocence and either just pay the ticket or pay a ticket lawyer to plea it down to a non-moving violation. Both of those options are very much due process. Even if you are absolutely guilty of breaking the law that the ticket claims you did, you DO have the chance to get out of it. The police DO have to gather evidence and present their case if you choose to fight the ticket.

          Now if your points were made based on some other traffic law/judicial system outside of the U.S. (which is fine because the story is about Canada), then I can't claim to know if the system is similar.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by DigiShaman (671371)

            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 phys

      • by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:59AM (#29895329)
        Of course they do -- this is all just a show to garner votes. We see the same thing with gun control laws every time some nutjob goes into a public place. Politicians were screaming about instituting more gun control after Columbine, completely ignoring the myriad of other gun laws that these kids had unsurprisingly already ignored and circumvented.
      • by drsquare (530038) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @08:32AM (#29895571)

        Problem is, the perp can then argue they were driving with due care and attention, even when changing the radio, touching up their makeup, and drinking a coffee simultaneously. New laws like this take away the ambiguity and make it simpler for everyone.

    • by Canazza (1428553)

      What about changing gear, you have to take your hand off the wheel to do that. Unless you're in an automatic.

    • by rolfwind (528248) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @08:29AM (#29895535)

      Driving will continue to being dangerous until we take the human component out of driving. We could probably make it today, but the underlying infrastructure just isn't there yet and there is no push for it. Maybe in 50 years.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aminorex (141494)

      It is part of a new regime of law enforcement. The idea is that if everyone is in constant fear of being arrested, harrassed, fined, jailed, beaten up, or shaken down, then they will all behave very very carefully. It works too. Crime goes down, public safety goes up.

      Then some genocidal maniac assumes the reins of the police state, and millions die.

  • 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

    • Re:RTFS (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mcdonald.or (985710) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:16AM (#29894687)

      Indeed it does. If the GPS is attached to the window, or dash mounted it can be used. If however you cause an accident by setting the address as you drive, you get the $1000 fine and points on your license.

      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?

      • Re:RTFS (Score:5, Informative)

        by tomhudson (43916) <barbara DOT huds ... a-hudson DOT 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.

        • 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 Anonymous Coward

            I work with police radios, 911 centers, etc. like nobody-but-the-IRS's business and recently it has struck me as really odd that nobody makes "hands-free" devices for police radios. "Hands-free" devices make the rest of us safer drivers so why doesn't anybody marketed police radio equipment designed to work with them?

            Imagine if the officer never had to take her hands off the vehicle wheel in order to (a) tell the radio unit to change to frequency , (b) press the button mounted on the steering wheel to key

            • by tomhudson (43916)

              Around here, policy is to have 2 police officers in every patrol car. It works out cheaper, because you can cut the number of cars circulating by half, you still have the same number of eyeballs and bodies out there, and one can actually concentrate on keeping an eye out for things, running plates, etc., while the other one drives. They also keep each other alert, and there's no likelyhood of a one-one-one or two-against-one-officer confrontation, so it's safer.

              You now don't have cases where a second c

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by silanea (1241518)

        [...] What is it that makes a copper less likely to be distracted by a hand held device than you or me?

        Nothing. But the copper has a good reason to use a hand-held device, namely the fulfillment of their official duty to serve and protect the public, as opposed to Joe Dipshit's rather flimsy reason to text away while speeding down the highway to let Aunt Irma know he will arrive two nanoseconds later than expected. That is why, at least in most countries, police officers are also allowed to carry guns, battons, tasers and thelikes in public while civilian use of such items may be restricted.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Jaysyn (203771)

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

      • As others have mentioned they have good reason. I guess you could say cops can't either except for work but that sounds pretty impossible to enforce. They can also drive really fast and on the shoulder but that hasn't doomed us all.

        Beyond that cooper's ARE better drivers. Much better in fact. They are required to take special driving classes and renew them every so often. Though Bell employees go through the same thing. If only we had a test to make sure people aren't stupid enough to text message while dr
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Rob the Bold (788862)

        What is it that makes a copper less likely to be distracted by a hand held device than you or me?

        The intense weekend of training they have to complete before joining the force.

    • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:22AM (#29894721)
      The summary is totally misleading. I have yet to see a car with handheld climate control, and any decent modern car has built in radio and media player. Ontario has not banned built-in or dashboard-attached GPS.

      On the other hand there is a lot of evidence that using handheld devices while driving is dangerous, and in our rather busier UK traffic anybody drinking coffee while driving is a risk to everybody else.

      However the summary and some of the responses show part of a trend. "Libertarianism" translating as "I should be allowed to do whatever I want, but stop those other idiots". Once you reach the age of 40 it becomes apparent that young drivers are crap and greatly overestimate their skills and their road attentiveness. As a colleague of mind once remarked "when I think how I used to drive when i was younger and put my family at risk, my blood runs cold". I expect lots of posts here slagging off Ontario, but they are right - and remember kids, you can't post a retraction to Slashdot from the cemetary.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by X0563511 (793323)

        I don't know about you, but I can: grab, open, drink from, close, and replace my water bottle (with a screw on top!) with a single hand (either hand, actually) without taking my eyes from the road. I can also operate all my radio and AC/heater controls without looking at them either.

        It's not people who drink or use devices in the car that cause problems. The problem is people taking their eyes off the road for more than an instant. These same people would be the ones who turn their head to look at the accid

        • Ah, but to do as you claim you must visual the processes: grab, open, drink, close, and replace. Operating the mind's eye necessarily reduces your vision because your visual cortex is being diverted to the task. It is a distraction and is not unlike momentarily taking your eyes off the road. Performing your daily aquatic fine motor skill challenge may warm your heart with smugness, but it also undeniably takes your attention away from the road, which is the true problem.

    • by sqldr (838964)
      "or even drink your morning coffee".. he had me until he said that. wtf.. driving and drinking coffee? Please get off the road, and come back when you can pay attention to the 2 tonne vehicle you're supposed to be in control of.
      • by fredjh (1602699)

        Is drinking water OK? I do that all the time. There's essentially no difference. Maybe if you're using an open mug, then it'd be pretty stupid, but most people have cups with closed tops or the special mugs they make just for drivers.

    • And actually, the way the law is worded, my iPhone would be exempt. It's docked into a charger/fm transmitter station.
    • by camperslo (704715)

      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

      Marketing opportunities to save Michigan:

      Wind-up (battery-free) vibrators
      Microphones with VOX (voice-activated switch) to replace PTT (push to talk) CB microphones

      Opportunities for bored developers:

      Drive-by Rick-rolling exploits for the iPhone, iPod touch, and Zune

  • 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.
  • by AtomicSnarl (549626) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:10AM (#29894647) Homepage
    A Canadian truck driver has been fined for smoking in his own truck. [reuters.com] His truck is a "workplace" you see, and you're not allowed to smoke at work.

    Beware! Definitions have consequences!
    • by srussia (884021)
      Heck, I used to ROLL cigarettes while driving (steering with my knee), with no adverse consequences.
    • by jamesh (87723)

      On a more positive note, a woman in Australia was recently convicted [abc.net.au] under new laws that make it a crime to smoke in a car with children present.

  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by noundi (1044080) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:11AM (#29894657)

    Though this was a good idea, it seems to have been taken a little too far.

    Here's how I reason. Regardless if I can or cannot drive perfectly well while drinking coffee with one hand, for all I know this could be completely fatal in your case. And if keeping the right to drink my morning coffee while driving potentially means losing my legs or even my life simply because you also had those rights, then it's a very, very, very small price to pay.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BikeHelmet (1437881)

      I too would much prefer a more broad rule.

      I find people talking on cellphones tend to be looking roughly straight ahead. Attention is diverted, but it's not as bad as a lot of other situations.

      All my close calls involved other devices. One woman was putting on lipstick. Another guy was changing a CD. Another pulled into a 3-way intersection while looking for sunglasses.

      I was able to swerve (slightly) into the wrong lane to avoid all three, but in busier locations that'd make the situation far worse. I happe

      • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by noundi (1044080) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:19AM (#29895029)

        I too would much prefer a more broad rule.

        I find people talking on cellphones tend to be looking roughly straight ahead. Attention is diverted, but it's not as bad as a lot of other situations.

        All my close calls involved other devices. One woman was putting on lipstick. Another guy was changing a CD. Another pulled into a 3-way intersection while looking for sunglasses.

        I was able to swerve (slightly) into the wrong lane to avoid all three, but in busier locations that'd make the situation far worse. I happen to live in a small city in BC(<100k people), but in a large city of millions, with dozens of lanes of traffic, you just can't pull off the moves I did. It'd mean bad accidents, so I fully understand the desire to prevent it.

        Regarding cellphones... many young people can operate them without looking at the screen or phone, and can drop them in an instant if necessary to grab the wheel. I'm really worried about other stuff more. Anything that takes your eyes off the road...

        (Oh, and FYI - I'm responsible and pull over when making calls. You like to drink morning coffee huh, on the way to work? Well screw you!)

        You're right. But really we're repeating what has been stated as plain fucking truth long ago: people think they are much better drivers than they actually are. So this means one thing, the responsibility (even though possible in the case of a few more intelligent people) cannot be put on the driver. The driver shouldn't be allowed to evaluate if "this is a good time to speak in the phone" or "this is a good time to drink my coffee" or "this is a good time to change the CD". It should simply be forbidden because the driver makes the common mistake of thinking he's safe because of his alleged awesome driving skills. Leaving the rest of us at danger, not only drivers but also pedestrians/cyclists and even property.

      • Stats show otherwise. It isn't your eye focus that is the problem. The conversation itself is what kills people. They just become blind and inattentive. Often they could be looking directly at an incoming vehicle and not have it register.
  • 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.

    Oh, and for those Ontarians in the audience? Yeah, 'Central Canada' would be Saskatchewan. Anything east of that is 'Eastern'. :)

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Engeekneer (1564917)

      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.

      Funny, in France it's the other way around. And to lend some credence to their point, the did just convicted Scientology of fraud. (And no, I'm not French)

    • 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?

      • by freeweed (309734)

        Alberta has no cellphone ban of any sort in vehicles (yet).

        Not sure why this would be modded Informative when it's at least 50% wrong.

        That being said, I'm looking forward to the day Alberta DOES ban it - and hopefully finally gets it right, banning all cell use not just handheld. If using your hand was the problem, manual transmission cars would be illegal.

    • If we go by our capital or population Saskatchewan is Western. But I'm just being snide.

      As an Ontarian I'd like to say Thank You. Dear lord I much prefer relating to Europe over the US any day. Are you saying we care more about health care than you? (I know that tommy douglas was from saskatchewan). Do we have... lower crime rates? Less religious fanatics? Less military? (yes I view this as a good thing) Really, I don't know what you were pointing to.
  • From the original article that the blog post refers too. http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynews/news/local/article/10327--distracted-driving-law-passes-at-queen-s-park [citytv.com]

    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. Your GPS unit will still be able to direct you, as long as its properly secured to your dashboard.

    "Communication devices such as CBs that are hard-wired into the vehicle are not covered by the ban," the official states.

  • In the U.S., and I suspect Canada, cars are the instrument of death more often than guns are. Count then by gross total or per-capita population or per-capita car-owner/gun-owner, cars are more dangerous.

    I know people that have been killed or injured by drivers distracted by lighting cigarettes, changing the radio or reaching for something that fell on the floor, like a CD or cassette. It is no different than if someone carelessly shoots a gun off without aiming or caring where it is pointing. Only luck pre

    • I take it somebody has never had a bad day and found him or herself on the wrong side of the law.
      • by Xiph (723935)

        I take it that gp has had plenty of bad days and been on the wrong side of the law often enough.
        Gp was just never caught doing so and thus believes that he or she never did anything "bad".

        But i guess as someone trying to learn about usability analysis and the like, there's a lot to learn when it comes to drivers (of cars, bikes,trains, boats, airplanes, etc.)

      • Obvious strawman. I should really keep and memorize a list of fallacies so I can just list all applicable whenever anyone says anything online.
    • by fridaynightsmoke (1589903) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:32AM (#29894787) Homepage

      Yeah, lets ban everything that could ever create a risk in any situation. Theoretically, I could be distracted by reading your post on /. and not see an anyry badger lunging at me from next to my desk. Therefore, your posting on /. needs to be banned.

      In fact, lets also ban the posession of slippery substances (if dropped on the floor they could cause somebody to slip and crack their skull open) etc etc etc

      'Safe driving' is about awareness, being aware of the traffic around you and the road conditions, etc. It is NOT about a 'list of things you should never do, because in some situations they might be dangerous'.

      I myself have nearly been hit by people distracted by road signs, FFS. By your logic road signs should be banned.

      As for

      Any driver involved in an accident while their car was moving should immediately have their license suspended and car impounded until cause can be determined. If they are at fault charged and if convicted of a simple infraction their license revoked. If injury or worse is caused they should be jailed. They are a danger to others.

      , yeah, nice way to never ever find out the true cause of any accident because everyone involved is desperately trying to cover their asses against people like you. Go and read 'Road Accidents - Prevent or Punish' by J J Leeming, and then read it again.

      • Car crashes are quite easily the #1 cause of preventable deaths. Giving up a little likely wouldn't be a tragedy. I think people have grown too accustomed to it though and it will turn into a law like jaywalking where it is understood that everyone can ignore it. Unless you annoy a cop, then he can bust you whenever he wants.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by that IT girl (864406)
        If I had mod points, you'd get one--this is EXACTLY the kind of common sense that needs to be applied, not only to driving laws but to a lot of things.
    • by Aladrin (926209) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:58AM (#29894911)

      "Any driver involved in an accident while their car was moving should immediately have their license suspended and car impounded until cause can be determined."

      So under your proposed law, if someone hits you and the cop isn't sure, you lose your license until he is. And if he makes a mistake and finds you to be at fault, you lose your license?

      No, that's far too extreme. You've gone beyond simple safety precautions and up into revenge.

    • by syousef (465911) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:47AM (#29895237) Journal

      So no, this law does not go too far, in fact it does not go far enough. It should mandate that anyone found driving while distracted be charged with reckless endangerment of human life.

      Anyone who claims they've never driven while distracted is a complete and utter moron. Mod it flamebait, I don't give a fuck but you sir are a fuckwit. It'd be more effective to ban babies from being in the car since an infant in a car seat who has just vomited and is about to choke to death is a far greater distraction than changing the fucking radio station.

      I'm almost surprised you haven't suggested that cars need to be banned period.

      The correct solution by the way is to teach people how to cope with distractions. AND TEST the driver for being able to cope with distractions. Life is full of them and pretending they don't exist is far more culpable than changing a radio station.

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

      First of all there is no "right to travel". Secondly the two are not compatible. There is a risk to yourself and others around you when you travel. It can be minimised NOT eliminated.

      Those that do endanger others need to be held accountable for their actions

      You mean like existing dangerous driving laws?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Loosifur (954968)

        First of all there is no "right to travel."

        Actually, I think John Locke would disagree. And as for the second part, you can never eliminate risk, true, but you can minimize it to the extent that you render it statistically impossible, although I suspect the only way would be to enact absolutely draconian laws. It's a tautology, but the surest way to eliminate automobile accidents is to eliminate automobiles. There are, I would guess, very few if any car accidents in North Korea, because only high-level gove

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by m.ducharme (1082683)

        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 provinc

  • 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
  • Unless they grow a third arm for shifting, anyway.

  • Here in Maine, it is against the law to do anything which distracts you from driving. Essentially, this would include texting or talking on the phone if those things are distracting you. I would imagine that this will allow the cop to ticket you if you cause an accident and thus properly assign liability for the accident. It's like getting a ticket for "failure to control you vehicle to avoid a collision" (a typical wording for any time you rear-end the car in front of you).

  • The submission claims this is "throwing the baby out with the bathwater"...huh? No. This law is like throwing away the poop you washed off the baby along with the bathwater. The original analogy is trying to say that to get rid of something of no value, you also threw out something that had value. These other items you listed as untended consequences can cause the same sorts of distraction based accidents as cell phones but it is just not in vogue to hate them.

    Distracted driving is distracted driving. Peo

  • And add a 'feature' to it:

    If you send a photo containing someone driving while using phone/electronic device to the police you will get 10% of the fine. Currently the catch rate for phoning while driving is so low that many people are not bothered by it.

    The catch rate for these kinds of things is just to low, and then many people don't bother with it. The one time they get caught they just pay up. Which puts people like me (using bike to get to work) at risk.

  • They don't enforce it much, but there's no reason to make a cellphone / texting law because they only thing you're technically allowed to take your hands off the wheel for while driving is shifting gears. It's in the Texas drivers handbook that I had drivers ed from in 94 and it's still the law now.

    I don't see where another place passing this law is news.

  • There are more than fifty jurisdictions now that have similar bans in place. Frankly, if whatever it is you're doing while driving makes it so you don't notice the cop until they're pulling you over, you deserve the damn ticket.
  • by bhmit1 (2270) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:48AM (#29895261) Homepage

    We are constantly fighting cell phones, texting (what about emailing), and other one offs without taking on the core issue, distracted driving. And as long as there are mothers on the road, with screaming children in the back seat, while they try to fix their makeup as they race to a play date, we'll never face this issue head on. No one wants to discuss how distracting a baby can be, least we suffer the wrath of the angry mother. So we're constantly doing one off bills that catch some people that are distracted and others that are completely safe.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by T Murphy (1054674)
      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).

A penny saved is a penny to squander. -- Ambrose Bierce

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