Feature February 1, 2010 by
Will Carcone, Curriculum Developer CARS
Scan Or No-Scan
With all the new hand held communication devices available to consumers today some problems have arisen. The use of hand held devices while driving is becoming one of the main topics of world traffic safety discussions. This practice has led...
With all the new hand held communication devices available to consumers today some problems have arisen. The use of hand held devices while driving is becoming one of the main topics of world traffic safety discussions. This practice has led many countries to implement strict laws banning the use of these devices while driving. The purpose of these laws is to reduce serious collisions caused by drivers being distracted while talking, text messaging or sending and reading e-mails.
In Canada and the United States, the laws banning hand held devices are left to the individual province or state. Each law lays out the restrictions and fines that are applied to the driver caught using a one of these devices. Devices involved are things such as cell phones, Blackberrys, smart phones, laptops or anything that has a screen requiring user interaction.
In Canada and the U.S. the result of using a banned device typically results in the offender paying a fine. However, in other areas of the world like India, the penalties may be more severe. In Andhra Pradesh, the ban now carries a prison sentence if an offender is caught.
One of the toughest bans in Canada is considered to be the one recently passed in Ontario. This legislation still allows hands free use of phones but prohibits most other forms of portable electronic devices. Most studies show this is a good and much needed step to help reduce distraction and improve road safety.
So, when you are road testing for drivability issues, keep your cells and PDA’s in your pocket and your hand held scan tools at the shop so as not to be distracted.
Keep the scan tool at the shop? That cannot be right. How are you going to be able to see operating parameters? How are you going to be able to tell if there are improper volumes or clutch slippage or missed solenoid commands within an electronically controlled transmission? What about speed sensors reading correctly or dropping off on antilock brake systems? These are all good questions and have an easy answer. In Ontario, technicians are exempt from the hand held ban.
Now don’t be too excited. The exemption is not for all devices but for diagnostic equipment required during the performance of a repair only. The exemption can be found in the Ontario Highway Traffic Act regulation 366/09 in Section 4, Line 4. It states “automotive technicians may use handheld devices to diagnose drivability concerns while operating a motor vehicle”.
There is also an added stipulation to this regulation. This can be found in Section 8 where it states that the device being used must be secured in the vehicle while in use. This does not mean resting within arms reach on the passenger seat. The device needs to be in a position where it can be viewed with a quick glance and, if needed, a function obtained with the ease similar to a radio selection button. There is no specific outline of how or what the device is secured with written in the regulation.
In Nova Scotia there is also a ban on hand held devices. The ban states that the use of hands free devices is allowed. There is no list of specific devices that qualify as “hands free.” In order to be considered “hands free” the user must not be required to remove their hands off the wheel while they are using the device. Most other provinces in Canada have or will have legislation in place by 2010. At the time this article was written, British Colombia had not quite finished their legislation on hand held devices but, from news sources, it appears to be as strict as the one in use for Ontario.
In Canada, each province has their own websites where traffic and provincial legislation can be found. It is always a good idea to check with local government offices when you have any questions concerning clarification to local laws and practices … so you may want to do your homework prior to your next road test.
For more information on automotive technology visit CARS OnDemand training at: www.cars-council.ca