New Ontario Mobile Device Laws

Ontario has introduced new driving laws in regards to the use of portable electronic devices. I thought everyone might like to know.

Ontario Legislation Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act, 2009

Q1. What devices are not allowed to be used while driving?

A1. Drivers cannot use handheld wireless communications devices while driving. This includes cell phones, BlackBerrys, iPods or other portable MP3 devices, PlayStation portables or Gameboys. Drivers also cannot view display screens on devices that are unrelated to driving such as a laptop or DVD player.

Q2. Does that mean I cannot text message or respond to emails while driving?

A2.Text messaging and emailing are not permitted while driving.

Q3. If I have a hands-free function, such as Bluetooth, can I use my phone while driving?

A3. Yes, using a hands-free wireless communications device, for example a Bluetooth, will be permitted.

Q4. My hands-free device requires me to press a button to accept a call. Will this be allowed?

A4. Yes, pressing a button of a hand-held device that is secured in an accessible place to activate the hands-free mode for an incoming or outbound call is permitted under the legislation.

Q5. Can I use the key pad on my phone to dial a phone number?

A5. No. You can only press a button to accept (or end) a call, or to initiate a voice activated dialing feature.

Q6. What about calls to 911?

A6. All calls to 911 are permitted while driving. However, before placing a call it is advisable stop safely at the side of the road.

Q7. Will I be able to use a GPS device while driving?

A7. Yes, GPS devices that are mounted on a dashboard or windshield are permitted to be used. You are not permitted to use GPS if it requires you to hold the device in your hand. For example using Google maps while holding your Blackberry in your hand would not be permitted. You are also required to pull over to the side of the road to input addresses into your GPS, you cannot type while driving.

Q8. What are the penalties for using a cell phone while driving?

A8. Fines range from $60 to $500.