Ontario bans hand-held devices while driving

Hands-free devices will continue to be allowed.

Toronto (24 April 2009) - The Ontario legislature has passed a new law banning the use of hand-held devices to talk, e-mail or send text messages while behind the wheel.

The statute imposes a fine of up to $500 but no date has yet been set for implementation. It is expected to take several months to work out final details.

Ontario is the fourth province to adopt such a ban. Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Nova Scotia passed laws previously.

The law doesn't affect the use of hands-free devices or using cellphones for 911 calls but it does include portable video games, MP3 players and DVD players. Global positioning systems (GPS) will be allowed if properly secured to the dashboard.

No demerit points for infractions are included in the bill, unlike in other provinces, but drivers who place others at risk by using one of the banned devices may also be charged under careless driving laws.

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