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No Hand-Held Devices In Ontario Cars 584

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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  • WTF? (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:06AM (#29894617)

    How does one demistify the windows?

  • 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 MrMista_B ( 891430 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:11AM (#29894659)

    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'. :)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:41AM (#29894821) Homepage Journal

    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 accident on the road, or watch the pretty birdies.

    In short, they will find ways to maim themselves and others, regardless of what we try to do (short of removing them from the road)

  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:44AM (#29894833) Homepage Journal

    Apparently not.

    But I pose a question for you.

    If you spilt hot coffee all over your groin while driving, could you get off the road safely to attend to it?

    Perhaps something a bit cooler would be safer, regardless of your skills.

  • by shabble ( 90296 ) <> on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:49AM (#29894865)

    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 Engeekneer ( 1564917 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:50AM (#29894871)

    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)

  • Re:RTFS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by silanea ( 1241518 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @06:51AM (#29894881)

    [...] 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.

  • by Loosifur ( 954968 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @08:51AM (#29895709)

    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 government officials are allowed to own cars. And even if I run really fast into someone else who's running really fast in the opposite direction we might just knock ourselves unconscious at the most.

    But as for the rest of your post, I agree entirely. Dangerous driving is already covered by existing laws in every state in the US, I believe. Unlike a previous poster, I am more than capable of lighting a cigarette while keeping my eyes on the road, a hand on the wheel, and maintaining alert control of the vehicle. I do it more often than I should, in fact. On the other hand, people get into accidents all the time because they were fiddling with their air conditioning. Since the goal isn't to keep people from smoking in cars but to keep them from not paying attention to driving, legislating against individual behaviors isn't going to have the effect you want.

    I would suggest that driving while distracted is the same as talking during a movie. It's illegal, it's annoying, but there will always be people who are more interested in doing whatever they want to do, be it talking through a movie or texting and applying makeup while driving, than not ruining someone else's day. The solution isn't to try to legislate behavior but to change the culture that allows such behavior. That's why I'll be raising kids who would rather burn alive than talk during a movie, and who will pull the car over before they answer a cellphone.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:47AM (#29896403)

    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 use a hands-free phone - hell, even a standard cell-phone - without taking my eyes off the road. But I know that, as studies show, it detracts from the amount of attention I can put into driving, so I don't do it. Similarly, when you're having a drink of water, you're not scanning your surroundings as frequently as usual, you're not thinking as hard about what the other drivers are likely to do - in short, you're losing your situational awareness, and that makes you more likely to have an accident.

  • by TimTucker ( 982832 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @11:09AM (#29897661) Homepage
    Or unless you're using an "electronic cigarette" in an attempt to stop smoking.

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