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October 12, 2009

Distracted Driving Legislation Comes into Effect October 26, 2009

Bill 118, which amends the Highway Traffic Act to prohibit the use of handheld electronic devices while driving, comes into effect October 26, 2009.

Some highlights of the new legislation:
  • drivers cannot use handheld devices while driving. This includes cell phones as well as handheld entertainment devices such as iPods, Gameboys and so forth;
  • drivers may use devices such as cell phones in hands-free mode;
  • drivers cannot view display screens on devices unrelated to driving, such as DVDs or laptops. This does not include GPS systems;
  • the use of such devices while off the roadway, not in motion and not impeding traffic is permitted;
  • calls to 911 are exempted.

Fines for contravening these provisions range from $60 to $500. Police can also charge drivers with careless driving which has more serious penalties, including imprisonment.

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