Gadget ban for Ontario in effect, no cellphones, MP3 players, laptops…

Well Ontario drivers, your time is up.  It’s been three months since the law first took affect, October 26, 2009, and during that time there was a grace period where drivers would only receive a warning when using an electronic device. Not any more.

Now as of Monday, February 1st, 2010 all drivers caught texting, emailing, browsing or dialing any hand-held electronic device — including cellphones, MP3 players, laptops, DVD players, even GPS — will face fines of up to $500.  When will they ban drinking a bottle of water? 911 calls are the only exception.

Emergency personnel, police, firefighters and paramedics are permitted to use hand-held devices while working.  Drivers for taxis, road-building machines, courier deliveries, tow truck drivers, and streetcars are permitted to use two-way radios until January 2013.

Drivers who disobey the law will receive a set fine of $125 plus a victim surcharge (even if there isn’t a victim) and court fees that raises the ticket to $155. If the ticket does go to court the fine could reach as high as $500.  Police are allowed to use their own discretion and charge drivers with dangerous driving or careless driving if they see fit.

Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation states that a cellphone-using drivers are four times more likely to be involved in a collision.  Dialing and texting carries the highest degree of risk.

There are already 50+ countries that have similar laws in place in various states and provinces.  Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, California and New York already have their laws in affect.


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