Starting February 1, 2010, any adult driver caught talking on a hand-held phone in Ontario will be assessed fines.
Bill 118, also known as Ontario’s Countering Distracted Driving law, began on October 26 giving drivers a three-month grace period before drivers caught talking would be given fines.
Ontario drivers can expect to receive a minimum $155 fine (and a maximum $500) if caught, and a loss of demerit point in addition to a fine if caught texting, typing, emailing, watching a DVD or playing a portable device while driving.
Talking using hands-free devices is still permitted. Similarly, there are exceptions for drivers making 911 emergency calls. Drivers of emergency vehicles and certain commercial vehicles will also be allowed to use certain hand-held devices. Technicians that operate diagnostic scan tools while driving in Ontario are also exempt in certain instances as well.
A similar provincial bill went into effect in British Columbia last month, B.C. drivers can expect similar reprimands in the form of a minimum of $167 fine, as well as a loss of demerit points if caught texting while driving.
For more information, please visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s Web site at www.mto.gov.on.ca.