Ontario cellphone driving ban takes effect on Oct. 26 | National Union of Public and General Employees

Ontario cellphone driving ban takes effect on Oct. 26

Fines of up to $500 will be imposed for using hand-held devices after a three-month education period.

Toronto (2 Oct. 2009) - The Ontario government has set Oct. 26 as the date when its new ban on using hand-held devices while driving will come into effect. The law covers cellphones and other hand-held devices.

Exceptions are allowed for emergency cellphone calls.

Motorists can generally expect a three-month education period before the ban is enforced, meaning that police will have the discretion to show leniency. However, tickets will be issued after Feb. 1.

Drivers who use the devices to talk or to send e-mail or text messages will face fines of up to $500.

The law also bans portable video games and DVD players. Hands-free devices are permitted but their use is not encouraged. Global-positioning systems (GPS) are allowed as long as they're secured to the dashboard.

Ontario is the fourth province to enact a ban on hand-held devices, The others are Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Manitoba has also introduced legislation.

"It is not safe to be texting, emailing or dialing a phone when you are driving a vehicle," says Ontario Transportation Minister Jim Bradley. "Now it is also illegal."

Unlike other provinces, no demerit points will associated with the new law in Ontario. However, alternate laws such as careless driving (which includes a loss of six demerit points) could be used to deal with serious infractions.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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