If haven’t heard yet the way you drive will change in the Fall. The provincial government has enacted new distracted driver legislation which will be in effect on September 1, 2011. The is legislation designed to encourage people not to drive whilst ‘distracted’. Distraction includes these highlights:

    Restricts drivers from:

  • using hand-held cell phones
  • texting or e-mailing
  • using electronic devices like laptop computers, video games, cameras, video entertainment displays and programming portable audio players (e.g., MP3 players)
  • entering information on GPS units
  • reading printed materials in the vehicle
  • writing, printing or sketching, and
  • personal grooming
  • using a 2-way radio or what is commonly referred to as a CB (Citizen’s Band) radio (some exemptions apply)

Police and Sheriffs will be advised to use their discretion in assessing distracted drivers. For example, it’s not an offence to drive with a pet in the vehicle, but if that pet impedes the safe operation of the vehicle (access to the controls), the officer may use their discretion to issue a ticket.

All vehicles are included in the legislation which means cyclists are included.

We’ve all seen people doing the above activities whilst driving (you may have done them yourself). There is no question that paying attention to the road is essential to safe driving.

Fines will be $172; $150 plus the 15 percent victims’ surcharge.

What you can do is drive with a cell phone so long as it’s handsfree. You can’t hold your phone while talking via hands free though. In face, simply having possession of a handheld device whilst driving can technically garner you a ticket.

We hope that the enforcement of this legislation will lower the number of road accidents. Ultimately greater attention to the road will make everyone’s commute safer.

Photo credit to poka0059 from Flickr.