Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel

News Sep 17, 2009 Ancaster News

On June 27, two people died as the result of a horrific accident on Centennial Parkway in the city’s east end.

Police reported speed and the use of a cell phone as factors in the deadly crash that also resulted in serious injuries to four other people.

Cell phones have become ubiquitous in today's society and are now an important part of most of Canadians' telecommunications activities. The use of other wireless handheld devices such as the BlackBerry or iPod has also grown exponentially in Canada. It has become almost normal to talk and drive or text and drive these days. It should be no surprise that driver inattentiveness has increased with the proliferation of handheld technologies, and more accidents and deaths are being recorded.

Why do people, knowing the risk, continue to talk while driving? Is it the intense social pressures to stay in touch and always be available to friends and colleagues? Are we addicted to our gadgets?

According to recent data from Statistics Canada, there were 16.8 million wireless subscribers in Canada in 2006. That number is most certainly higher in 2009. The trend toward increased cell phone use has cut across all income levels.

In an effort to mitigate the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving, the Ontario government will pass Bill 118 this fall. The Countering Distracted Driving legislation has passed third reading and awaits proclamation by the government.

The bill amends the Highway Traffic Act to ban driving while holding and using a hand-held wireless communication device or electronic entertainment device.

It is unclear whether GPS navigation devices will be included in the ban, which when law, will set fines ranging from $60 to $500 for contravention. Bill 118 does not establish whether demerit points will also be included for law breakers. The government has indicated the legislation will exclude GPS systems that are properly mounted to the dashboard.

Driver inattentiveness

Texting and driving, one of the most serious causes of driver inattentiveness, will also be banned. The use of MP3 players is also banned unless they are plugged into the vehicle’s sound system.

Hands-free technology, whether a wired or wireless headset or a speakerphone-enabled handset, will be permitted under the law.

Emergency calls, such as 911, would not be affected under the law.

A recent survey regarding Ontario's impending ban on the use of handheld cell phones while driving found that 92 per cent of respondents intend to obey the law.

These results point to a general consensus among the public that the use of hand-held devices is a recipe for disaster on Ontario roads.

Extensive research and studies indicate that drivers using cell phones are four times as likely to cause a crash as other drivers (equal to someone driving with a .08 per cent blood alcohol level).

Ontario will join Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador in banning the use of handheld cell phones while driving. Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and B. C. are considering similar legislation.

However, research has shown that hands-free devices do not eliminate the risks, and may in fact worsen them by suggesting the behaviour is safe.

There is no overnight cure to curb our addiction to the use of handheld devices while driving.

We hope Bill 118 is just the first of a multi-step program to make our roads a little safer from distracted drivers.

Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel

News Sep 17, 2009 Ancaster News

On June 27, two people died as the result of a horrific accident on Centennial Parkway in the city’s east end.

Police reported speed and the use of a cell phone as factors in the deadly crash that also resulted in serious injuries to four other people.

Cell phones have become ubiquitous in today's society and are now an important part of most of Canadians' telecommunications activities. The use of other wireless handheld devices such as the BlackBerry or iPod has also grown exponentially in Canada. It has become almost normal to talk and drive or text and drive these days. It should be no surprise that driver inattentiveness has increased with the proliferation of handheld technologies, and more accidents and deaths are being recorded.

Why do people, knowing the risk, continue to talk while driving? Is it the intense social pressures to stay in touch and always be available to friends and colleagues? Are we addicted to our gadgets?

According to recent data from Statistics Canada, there were 16.8 million wireless subscribers in Canada in 2006. That number is most certainly higher in 2009. The trend toward increased cell phone use has cut across all income levels.

In an effort to mitigate the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving, the Ontario government will pass Bill 118 this fall. The Countering Distracted Driving legislation has passed third reading and awaits proclamation by the government.

The bill amends the Highway Traffic Act to ban driving while holding and using a hand-held wireless communication device or electronic entertainment device.

It is unclear whether GPS navigation devices will be included in the ban, which when law, will set fines ranging from $60 to $500 for contravention. Bill 118 does not establish whether demerit points will also be included for law breakers. The government has indicated the legislation will exclude GPS systems that are properly mounted to the dashboard.

Driver inattentiveness

Texting and driving, one of the most serious causes of driver inattentiveness, will also be banned. The use of MP3 players is also banned unless they are plugged into the vehicle’s sound system.

Hands-free technology, whether a wired or wireless headset or a speakerphone-enabled handset, will be permitted under the law.

Emergency calls, such as 911, would not be affected under the law.

A recent survey regarding Ontario's impending ban on the use of handheld cell phones while driving found that 92 per cent of respondents intend to obey the law.

These results point to a general consensus among the public that the use of hand-held devices is a recipe for disaster on Ontario roads.

Extensive research and studies indicate that drivers using cell phones are four times as likely to cause a crash as other drivers (equal to someone driving with a .08 per cent blood alcohol level).

Ontario will join Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador in banning the use of handheld cell phones while driving. Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and B. C. are considering similar legislation.

However, research has shown that hands-free devices do not eliminate the risks, and may in fact worsen them by suggesting the behaviour is safe.

There is no overnight cure to curb our addiction to the use of handheld devices while driving.

We hope Bill 118 is just the first of a multi-step program to make our roads a little safer from distracted drivers.

Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel

News Sep 17, 2009 Ancaster News

On June 27, two people died as the result of a horrific accident on Centennial Parkway in the city’s east end.

Police reported speed and the use of a cell phone as factors in the deadly crash that also resulted in serious injuries to four other people.

Cell phones have become ubiquitous in today's society and are now an important part of most of Canadians' telecommunications activities. The use of other wireless handheld devices such as the BlackBerry or iPod has also grown exponentially in Canada. It has become almost normal to talk and drive or text and drive these days. It should be no surprise that driver inattentiveness has increased with the proliferation of handheld technologies, and more accidents and deaths are being recorded.

Why do people, knowing the risk, continue to talk while driving? Is it the intense social pressures to stay in touch and always be available to friends and colleagues? Are we addicted to our gadgets?

According to recent data from Statistics Canada, there were 16.8 million wireless subscribers in Canada in 2006. That number is most certainly higher in 2009. The trend toward increased cell phone use has cut across all income levels.

In an effort to mitigate the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving, the Ontario government will pass Bill 118 this fall. The Countering Distracted Driving legislation has passed third reading and awaits proclamation by the government.

The bill amends the Highway Traffic Act to ban driving while holding and using a hand-held wireless communication device or electronic entertainment device.

It is unclear whether GPS navigation devices will be included in the ban, which when law, will set fines ranging from $60 to $500 for contravention. Bill 118 does not establish whether demerit points will also be included for law breakers. The government has indicated the legislation will exclude GPS systems that are properly mounted to the dashboard.

Driver inattentiveness

Texting and driving, one of the most serious causes of driver inattentiveness, will also be banned. The use of MP3 players is also banned unless they are plugged into the vehicle’s sound system.

Hands-free technology, whether a wired or wireless headset or a speakerphone-enabled handset, will be permitted under the law.

Emergency calls, such as 911, would not be affected under the law.

A recent survey regarding Ontario's impending ban on the use of handheld cell phones while driving found that 92 per cent of respondents intend to obey the law.

These results point to a general consensus among the public that the use of hand-held devices is a recipe for disaster on Ontario roads.

Extensive research and studies indicate that drivers using cell phones are four times as likely to cause a crash as other drivers (equal to someone driving with a .08 per cent blood alcohol level).

Ontario will join Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador in banning the use of handheld cell phones while driving. Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and B. C. are considering similar legislation.

However, research has shown that hands-free devices do not eliminate the risks, and may in fact worsen them by suggesting the behaviour is safe.

There is no overnight cure to curb our addiction to the use of handheld devices while driving.

We hope Bill 118 is just the first of a multi-step program to make our roads a little safer from distracted drivers.