Canadian distracted driving updates

Last updated: January 5, 2018
Canada cell phone/texting overview: Distracted driving laws have been enacted in all Canadian provinces, with restrictions similar to those being adopted in the United States.

canada flag for distracted driving postThese Canadian provinces have active laws against use of handheld cell phones and/or text messaging while driving — Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland/Labrador. Newfoundland (2002) was the first province to adopt a distracted driving law, and Alberta (2011) was the last.

Here’s a guide to distracted driving laws in the provinces and territories.

  • Quebec’s ban on handheld wireless device use by drivers took effect in 2008. In April 2015, penalties were increased to a maximum fine of $100 (before fees) and 4 demerit points. View the Quebec distracted driving news roundup.
  • The Northwest Territories’ ban on handheld electronic devices took effect Jan. 1, 2012. Two years later, the fine was increased to $322 with 3 demerit points to the driver’s license.
  • New Brunswick’s distracted driving law took effect June 6, 2011. The law prohibits drivers from using handheld cell phones and texting devices. Fine: $172 plus 3 demerit points. View the New Brunswick distracted driving news roundup.
  • Alberta’s sweeping law targeting distracted drivers took effect in 2011 and was updated in 2016. Fine: $287 plus 3 demerit points. View the Alberta distracted driving news roundup.
  • The Yukon Territory’s ban on drivers’ use of cell phones and “similar electronic devices” went into effect April 1, 2011. Fines up to $250 plus 3 demerits.
  • Prince Edward Island’s ban on the use of handheld electronic devices went into effect Jan. 23, 2010. Penalties were hiked in 2015. Fines: $500 to $1,200 plus 5 demerit points.
  • Saskatchewan’s ban on talking and texting on handheld cellphones became law Jan. 1, 2010. A 2017 toughening of the law bars holding, viewing or manipulating cell phones while driving. The fine is $280 plus 4 points against the driver’s license. A 2014 law allows for seven-day impoundment of serial offenders’ vehicles.
  • British Columbia’s bans on handheld cell phone use and text messaging while driving became law in 2010 and penalties were increased in 2016. Fine: $368 plus 4 demerits. View the British Columbia distracted driving news page.
  • Manitoba enacted its cell phone/texting law in July 2010 with updates in 2013 and 2015. Fine: $200 plus 5 demerit points.
  • Ontario’s law against text messaging and using handheld cell phones while driving went into full effect in February 2010. Its penalties were increased in 2014 and 2015. Fines: $490 to $1,000 plus 3 demerits. View the Ontario distracted driving news roundup.
  • Nova Scotia revised its law against handheld device use while driving in early 2015. Fines are $234 plus 4 demerit points vs. the driver’s license (first offense), then $349, then $579.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador’s ban on use of handheld electronic devices while driving took effect in 2003. The maximum fine since has been increased to $400, with 4 demerit points vs. the driver’s license.

2018 Canadian distracted driving news:
In Regina, Saskatchewan, 1,087 distracted driving charges were brought between January and November 2017. That’s up from 574 in the same period in 2016. The BusCop enforcement sweep — in which police ride metro buses to catch violators — gets part of the credit.

2017 Canadian distracted driving news:
In Saskatchewan, distracted driving ticketing hit another record in November 2017. Police reported 636 distracted driving citations, 554 of them linked to cell phone use.

Saskatchewan officials say distracted driving is the No. 1 factor in vehicle crashes in the province, and the No. 2 cause of roadway fatalities. In 2016, Saskatchewan saw about 8,300 vehicle crashes linked to distracted driving, officials said in reporting the statistics in October 2017. Fatalities associated with distracted driving have increased in each of the past three years, Saskatchewan Government Insurance said, with 42 in 2016. The amount of distracted driving incidents is “not getting better,” an SGI spokesman said.

Saskatchewan police say March 2017 hit a record number of distracted driving tickets. The 523 tickets far exceeded the number of impaired driving offenses (318). The increase most likely is linked to changes in the distracted driving law as of Jan. 1, below.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau has called for consistent penalties across the provinces for use of cell phones while driving. “Having robust and nationally consistent enforcement measures and penalties will help mitigate the negative impact of this increasingly pervasive problem on Canada’s roads,” Garneau wrote in a Feb. 21 letter to provincial road ministers.

A group called the Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving has rolled out a 15-part “action plan” to “make Canadian roads less distracted.” The group was founded by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation and insurance company The Co-operators. Steps include education, enforcement, and data and research — most of it familiar to anyone involved in the issue. “Some of the tasks included in the Action Plan are repeatedly duplicated by individual agencies because natural mechanisms to share information are lacking,” says the group, which includes government, research and enforcement representatives.

Saskatchewan government officials have updated the electronic distracted driving laws. Courts found the previous wording vague or incomplete, so an amendment to the Traffic Safety Law outlaws “holding, viewing or manipulating” cell phones as well as “using” them. The changes went into effect Jan. 1, 2017. The exact wording: “Drivers prohibited from holding, viewing, using or manipulating a cell phone while driving.”

2016 Canadian distracted driving news:
A third of Canadians continue to text message while at red lights, despite provincial laws, a national poll shows. The Canadian Automobile Association poll says 70 percent of citizens oppose the practice. “The effect of texting at a red light lingers well after the light turns green, making it a dangerous driving habit,” says Jeff Walker, vice president of public affairs for CAA National.

In Nova Scotia, mounties say they have issued 1,585 distracted driving tickets in 2016, as of mid-October. Fines start at $234 plus 4 demerit points vs. the driver’s license.

About half of the Canadians polled in September 2016 cited a “perceived failure of enforcement” of distracted driving laws, researchers at Insights West said. 90 percent backed the laws. And about two-thirds were in support of some kind of distracted walking ordinances for traffic areas.

Saskatchewan’s police chief says he isn’t in favor of criminalizing cell phone violations. “I’m thinking it might be more useful to find alternatives” similar to those employed for drunken driving, Chief Clive Weighill told CBC radio in late August. For example, after a second texting & driving offense, “the police immediately seize your vehicle.” Weighill’s comments came days after Quebec’s new transport minister lobbied the federal government for criminal penalties in serious cases of distracted driving.

The newly minted Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving completed a two-day working session in mid-June. The CCDD group — which includes government, research and enforcement representatives — is developing a National Action Plan for release in early 2017. “Sharing strategies and data will assist us all in addressing this increasingly significant issue,” said John Lefebvre of the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.

Saskatchewan convictions for handheld cell phone use numbered 4,300 in 2015, the government insurance outfit reported in mid-2016. That was down from almost 5,000 the year before.

2015 Canadian distracted driving news: In Newfoundland and Labrador, 1,144 tickets were handed out for electronic distracted driving offenses in the first nine months of 2015, the Royal Constabulary said. The peak month was January, with 322 citations. September saw only 17.

In Nova Scotia, the Supreme Court sided with a motorist who was ticketed for using the Siri feature on an iPhone to ask for directions. The high court ruled in late October 2015 that employing the voice-activated navigational system did not constitute “use” of the cell phone, which would be illegal. Justice Jamie Campbell said the related wording in the Nova Scotia’s Motor Vehicle Act was too simple to keep up with the tech times. He said other provinces were more specific in their distracted driving restrictions. Read the iPhone decision.

In Nova Scotia, the province adopted some of the country’s toughest penalties for distracted driving. Fines run from $234 (first offense) to $579 (third), plus 4 demerits. “We hope greater consequences will help influence driver behavior,” said Geoff MacLellan, Minister of Transportation. The increased penalties went into effect Feb. 1, 2015.

In Saskatchewan, distracted driving-related traffic fatalities numbered 26 in 2014, with about 600 injuries. Distraction remains the top cause of wrecks, and the third-most-cited contributing factor in fatal collisions, Saskatchewan Government Insurance says. That’s a “significant decrease” from 2013, SGI says. A 2014 law that allows for weeklong seizure of a serial offender’s vehicle has resulted in 35 impounds.

An Yukon appeals judge sided with the government in the case of a driver caught driving with his mobile phone held between his shoulder and his ear. The appeals judge ruled in early May that the “hands free” law means a phone is not to be used “held by the operator in any fashion.” A trial judge ruled in mid-January that the territory’s distracted driving law was too vague (below). The Yukon government argued successfully that “hands free” should be given its “ordinary meaning” in the courts — not the literal one used by the judge in dismissing the case. “Hands free doesn’t just mean without hands,” lawyer Karen Wenckeback said. The driver was given one day’s probation.

90 percent of Canadians say texting & driving is socially unacceptable, a new AAA survey suggests. Still, more than 20 percent say they do it anyway. The Canadians told researchers texting and emailing by drivers was their top roadway safety concern, topping drinking and driving. Cell phone use ranked eighth. The 1,252 Canadians polled said they observed an average of six people texting & driving within the last month. The three most common reasons people cite for texting behind the wheel are contacting family, “urgent” personal matters and work, according to AAA.

In the Yukon, a judge ruled in mid-January that the territory’s distracted driving law is simply too mushy. He dismissed a ticket because the driver was holding the cell phone lodged between his shoulder and ear. The judge said the RCMP officer erred in issuing the distracted driving ticket because the mobile was literally being used hands free. The Yukon Department of Justice expressed its concern with the hands-free ruling and said it was reviewing the case.

2014 Canadian distracted driving news: In Nova Scotia, a high court judge upheld the conviction of a motorist convicted of distracted driving for the act of holding his mobile phone. In the December 2014 ruling, the judge said a lower court erred in acquitting the driver because he was not texting or talking on the device. “The evidence established the respondent was using his hand-held cellular telephone while driving,” Justice James Chipman wrote, because the driver was holding the phone and looking for an incoming text message. The justice cited the “plain meaning of the word use” as it applied in the Motor Vehicle Act.

Prince Edward Island’s fines for distracted driving would more than double under a government plan unveiled in mid-November 2014. The new minimum fine would be $500, up from the $250 established in 2010. The maximum fine would hit $1,200, tripling from $400. Demerits vs. the driver’s license also would increase, hitting 5 points. Young drivers who text or talk on a phone would face 30-day suspensions (first offense) and then 90 days. Transportation Minister Robert Vessey made the announcement, saying the problem is “as serious as impaired driving.” Changes to the Highway Traffic Act are needed to increase the fines.

Nova Scotia is increasing fines for handheld cell phone use and texting and driving to $234 for a first offense, with penalties increasing to $579 for serial offenders. Four points will be assessed vs. the driver’s license upon convictions. Current fines start at $176. “There is no call or text worth losing a life,” said Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan. “Don’t take the chance. Pay attention to the road, not the phone.” The changes, which go into effect Feb. 1, give Nova Scotia some of the toughest distracted driving laws in North America. The new penalties were announced Oct. 1, 2014.

The Northwest Territories has hiked fines for electronic distracted driving to $322 (including victim surcharge). “The Department of Transportation and our law enforcement partners take distracted driving very seriously and those drivers caught using restricted electronic devices will be charged accordingly,” said Transportation Minister Tom Beaulieu. More than 458 drivers have been charged with distracted driving under the 2-year-old law.

Driving and talking on a cell phone ranks as the most annoying habit found on the nation’s highways, a poll shows. Use of smartphones was cited by 55 percent of those licensed drivers polled by RBC Insurance. Older licensed Canadians (68 percent) were far more likely to cite electronic distracted driving than younger respondents (42 percent). The poll of 1,010 licensed drivers was conducted in late March and early April.

More than 8 out of 10 Canadians say texting while driving should be a criminal offense, a national survey reported in March 2014. Distracted driving is not currently a criminal activity in Canada, but provinces have been increasing fines, most recently Ontario. The KANETIX insurance-backed survey found putting on makeup outranked cell phone use as potential criminal activities (76 percent vs. 73 percent). Distracted driving in general should be criminalized, 6 out of 10 drivers said. More than 1,500 Canadian drivers were polled in late February and early March.

In Nunavut, the city of Iqaluit is getting behind a territorial distracted driving law. The city is proposing the Nunavut Association of Municipalities take up the issue in its October 2013 sessions. Iqaluit also discussed a separate bylaw at the local level during a City Council meeting on Sept. 24. “Pretty much across Canada, every province and territory except Nunavut has a distracted driver law,” the municipal enforcement officer told the council.

About 4,500 residents of Prince Edward Island have pledged not to text & drive. The “Practice Safe Text” campaign, which ran all summer 2013, was a partnership between the province’s Department of Transportation, the Canadian insurance bureau and a local radio station. “The ultimate measure of success will be if Island drivers remember to avoid texting in dangerous situations long after this campaign has ended,” said Transportation minister Robert Vessey.

Nova Scotia police say distracted driving is the No. 1 cause of fatalities. As of late July, 47 fatalities have been logged in 2013. Distracted driving accounts for over a third of all traffic deaths, a RCMP inspector told CBC News. “It gets very frustrating for us to get the message out,” he said.

Saskatchewan’s traffic safety committee chairman says the law against use of handheld cell phones needs to include “holding” the phones as an offense. The issue dates back to an appeals court ruling in which a driver successfully argued that he was simply moving his cell phone, not using it. The traffic panel is drafting a proposal to include the more specific wording, the chairman, MLA Darryl Hickie, said in mid-July. He said it was “very frustrating” to see widespread use of handheld communications devices by drivers.

The RCMP in Saskatchewan say distracted driving has overtaken drunken driving as the leading cause of deaths on its roads. “In 2012, distracted driving became the number one cause of fatal collisions in our province,” a spokesman said in July 2013. Saskatoon police wrote more than 2,000 tickets for distracted driving in the year. In the first six months of 2013, they handed out 1,245 tickets.

Distracted driving contributed to at least 57 deaths and 2,100 injuries on Saskatchewan roads in 2012, SGI reported in early January. The number of deaths was later reported as 60. The province conducted its sixth distracted driving sweep in March 2013.

About 90 percent of Canadian drivers admit to some form of distracted driving, according to a survey done for Allstate Insurance. 83 percent of them are aware they can be ticketed and fined, the survey found. Generation X drivers (born 1965-1980) were most likely to admit to distracted driving, with 95 percent saying they engaged in the practice. Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) were close behind at 91 percent, followed by the Millennials (1981 to 1996). The online poll included electronic distracted driving as well as more routine activities such as eating and adjusting the radio. When restricted to electronic distracted driving the numbers were lower: 35 percent of both Gen X and Millennial drivers admitted to texting or taking pictures. The distracted driving poll of 2,465 adults was conducted in late May 2013.

162 people were killed in crashes in the RCMP’s jurisdiction, with the overall number of deaths put at more than 173. The leading cause of deaths remains impaired driving.

At least 82 people died on Nova Scotia roads in 2012. That’s up from 65 in 2011. Police say smartphone use — texting & talking — could be behind the increase.

2012 distracted driving news:
Saskatoon’s traffic safety committee proposed a $500 fine for handheld cell phone use, but the plan was rejected. The total fine remained at $280.

CAA and the Traffic Injury Research Foundation hosted a distracted driving conference in Toronto on March 1. This was the first major Canadian conference of its type since 2005. Panelists said hands-free operation of cell phones remained a serious problem, despite laws that only banned handheld cell phone use.

Winnipeg Police Service has issued about 5,000 citations under the province’s electronic distracted driving laws since enactment in the summer of 2010, its chief says.

Saskatchewan: In the first 18 months of the province’s cell phone and texting law, almost 3,500 drivers were convicted of violations. The law became effective Jan. 1, 2010. Officials say a quarter of crashes in the province are linked to distracted driving and it is the No. 1 traffic danger. A deadly car-truck crash on Highway 14 near Grandora was being investigated as the result of a woman’s cell phone use. The Langham woman and her young daughter died in the January 2012 accident.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says the province’s efforts against distracted driving won’t be extended to a total ban on cell phones. “This is a serious issue, but we need to be able to say at some point it’s up to individuals to be careful when they drive,” Wall told reporters Jan. 31.

Canadian distracted driving notes (2011):
A “Blow the Whistle” driver study found more than 1,400 distracted drivers in an hour’s observation in nine Canadian cities. Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Moncton had the highest number of people engaged in distracted behaviors during the morning rush hour. Cell phone use accounted for 15 percent of the reports, while eating and drinking had the highest count, 25 percent. The observers also included “talking to passengers” and smoking, behaviors not usually connected with distracted driving. Allstate Insurance sponsored the study, with its agents and high school students doing the observing in September. View the reports (PDF)

Texting and cell phoning behind the wheel are among the most annoying driving habits cited by Canadians, an Automobile Association poll found. Text messaging came in third, cited by 85 percent of those polled (behind road rage and cutting off other drivers). Talking on cell phones came in fifth, with 78 percent annoyed by the practice. The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) polled 5,044 Canadians.

Saskatchewan drivers ranked distracted driving above impaired driving as a roadway danger. 94 percent cited electronic distracted driving as a major problem in the Saskatchewan Government Insurance survey taken in September.

New Brunswick’s bans on text messaging and handheld cell phone use while driving took effect June 6 with no warning period. The RCMP in New Brunswick reported that about 50 tickets were written in the two weeks after the law took effect. (Read more about the New Brunswick texting & cell phone ban.)

The Northwest Territory’s legislators approved regulations against electronic distracted driving in August, amending the Motor Vehicles Act. The new driving rules take effect Jan. 1, 2012. They will ban use of handheld electronic devices while behind the wheel, with a fine of $100 plus 3 demerits.

On Prince Edward Island, police issued issued 113 citations for use of hand-held electronic communication devices in the law’s first year and a half, the Department of Transportation said May 19. “Too many Islanders continue to ignore the law and risk,” Transportation minister Ron MacKinley said.

The MLA for Yellowknife Centre is among a handful of legislators who had been pushing for a distracted driving law in the Northwest Territory. “I’m starting to wonder that perhaps maybe the (minister of Transportation) is waiting until cell phones become obsolete,” Robert Hawkins quipped in October 2010. The minister, Michael McLeod, previously said NWT distracted driving laws were not needed because many areas don’t have cell phone coverage.

The Yukon ban on drivers’ talking and texting via handheld cell phones and “similar electronic devices” went into effect April 1, 2011, with no grace period. Fines up to $250 with a possible 3 points against the driver’s license. Violators in the territory’s graduated driver’s license program will have to begin again.

During the debate on the Yukon bans, Liberal MLA Darius Elias told lawmakers: “I don’t want the Yukon to be the last jurisdiction in Canada to protect its citizens in this way.”

About 87 percent of Yukoners approved of a the ban against use of hand-held cell phones while driving, transportation officials said just before the vote was taken. The study of 1,600 drivers found that 94 percent wanted other hand-held electronic devices devices outlawed as well.

More distracted driving notes (background):
In Saskatchewan in 2010, there were about 8,500 collisions linked to distracted driving, with 60 deaths and about 2,300 injuries.

Total ban on cell phones: The Canadian Automobile Association is convinced that driving while using a hands-free cell phone is no safer than driving with a handheld cell phone. It’s pushing the provincial governments to expand their bans.

Cell phone poll: Canadians remain split over the need to outlaw cell phone use while driving, with about half of those polled supporting outright bans. Forty-two percent were opposed. A clear majority (67%) told pollsters that drivers wouldn’t obey cell phone bans, while half said police wouldn’t enforce the laws anyway. Older respondents (58%) wanted bans on all types of cell phone use by drivers, while younger people generally were not supportive (28%). The poll of 1,007 adults was taken online in late October 2009 by TNS Canadian Facts.

Saskatchewan’s ban on text messaging and use of handheld cell phones took effect Jan. 1, 2010. June Draude, minister for Saskatchewan Government Insurance, introduced the legislation Nov. 12 and it passed a final reading on Nov. 25. New drivers also will be prohibited from any cell phone use. Violators are to be fined $280 and will receive four demerit points.

Regina, Saskatchewan, police say they wrote almost 500 tickets for cell phone use in 2010. 31 warnings were handed out as well.

Prince Edward Island’s law against driving while using handheld electronic devices went into effect Jan. 23, 2010. Fines range from $250 to $400 plus 3 points against license.

Manitoba’s ban on drivers’ use of hand-held cell phones and texting devices went into effect July 15, 2010. The fine is $200.

A Saskatchewan poll taken in September 2009 indicated that 60 percent of residents “strongly support” bans on cell phone use and text messaging by drivers. … Saskatoon’s police chief has called for cell phoning and texting to be outlawed for motorists.

The market research company Angus Reid says 88 percent of Canadians surveyed were supportive of a ban on use of hand-held cell phones by drivers. 77 percent said this prohibition would make the country’s roads and highways much safer.

Respondents in Atlantic Canada (94%) and Quebec (90%) hold the highest level of support for the cell phone ban, along with women (89%), Canadians over the age of 55 (92%) and university graduates (89%), Angus Reid said.

Editorials, opinion:
Alberta: “For some reason — some suggest it’s fear of sliding further down the political popularity poll — the Stelmach government keeps dangling the carrot (of distracted driving laws), and then yanking it away. … Alberta … is set to become Canada’s traffic-safety donkey once again.” Michael Platt in the Calgary Sun (Jan. 19, 2010)

“The (Prince Edward Island) government is apparently ready to reintroduce legislation calling for a ban on talking and texting on hand-held cellphones while driving. It’s about time. … The sooner the province can introduce legislation, the sooner it can be passed and brought into law. Let’s just get it done. Motorists who like their phones may grumble at first, but surely they will adjust.” — The Guardian (Sept. 18, 2009)


  1. Al Cinamon says:

    “The Canadian Automobile Association is convinced that driving while using a hands-free cell phone is no safer than driving with a handheld cell phone.” This is what I’ve known for a long time and the politicians ought to know this too. So, why do they only ban hand-held phones? Answer — they’re not interested in safety … only revenue.

    So, it’s a win, win, win situation for them. First they win by fooling the public into thinking they care about safety. Second, they win by collecting tons of money in fines. And thirdly, they win by collecting taxes on all the transactions that flow from a traffic crashes caused by distracted driving

  2. all i want is the law

    • Strokerace says:

      WHY? can you prove that using a cell phone is dangerous? or are you just going by what the majority are doing? Following misguided information. Texting and driving is not dangerous. Its the moron behind the wheel who can’t drive. I can drive circles around anyone while texting, drinking a coffee and shifting gears.

  3. Marie Bastian says:

    Wow! I’m so glad Canada is now getting those laws as well! Once I was driving to work and all the sudden I looked up to find a man pull right in front of me, ( which does happen all the time) but then I saw that he was on his cellphone and that just made me mad. I am just done with it. I am very happy with these new laws!

  4. I just lost one of my best friends on Sunday night outside Leduc, Alberta. He was 21 and talking on the phone while driving. He hit ice and the car began to skid and roll several times. Macx was ONLY 21 …. I realize he was not wearing his seatbelt which ultimately may have led to his death but if he wasn’t talking on his phone he may have been able to regain control when he began to slide. We, his friends are now realizing, unfortunately, we are not invincible and that in a second our lives can be over … all because of something as preventable as talking on the phone.

  5. Its really pathetic that anybody can die because of the stupid rules and law. I will totally blame the goverment. If they keep the rules flexible, then everybody will use them. Anybody’s life is not worth $150, yes thats what the goverment made the rules. Anybody texting, talking in cell phone, grooming, their licence must be suspended for one year and $10,000 fine.

  6. Brian Wieland says:

    I started recording licence numbers of offenders back in Oct 2010 then entering the info onto an Excel speadsheet. If you wish to add more offenders to the list please visit my website. This list will be sent to various law agencies and the Ministry of Transportion.

  7. Where do I call to report people and submit their license plate numbers when I see them talking on their cell phones while driving. Im in Ontario.

  8. Well, just got a 167 dollar fine from a motorcycle cop for sending a quick text to a friend waiting for me at a coffee shop while at a red light. Apparently having your foot on the brake while at a red light is “driving”. The cop told me that if my phone was in a cradle it would have been okay, so apparently having to lean over to the dash and text is safer than just typing okay to my friend on the phone in my lap. Of course they came up with that exception so that cops can type away on their mounted computers and phones in their squad cars. It just seems like another cash grab to me by cash strapped governments that have an insatiable lust for money for pet projects like useless 25 million dollar bicycle lanes in downtown Vancouver. I suppose next I’ll be fined for leaning over and grabbing something out of my glovebox at a red light.

    The bitterest pill to swallow was the cop and his partner were illegally lane splitting between cars when he looked into my car. I guess that’s safer than me texting while fully stopped at a red light. He’ll be seeing me in court. I’m getting so tired of having every last detail of my life regulated by the suffocating Canadian government and it seems from the comments here that the majority of Canadians are only too happy to surrender common sense and freedom for more regulations.

  9. Ridiculous, frustrating, and sad. Even MORE regulations controlling our lives, telling us what we can and can’t do. It’s beyond my understanding why they need to pass nationwide laws to punish people for….wait for it….communicating with each other!

    But wait! It’s all about safety!! Think of the children!!!

    Don’t even try that argument in my presence, unless and until you successfully lobby our masters in power to prohibit the use of alcohol, cigarettes, prescription drugs and a dozen other things that cause the deaths of thousands of times more people than cell phones.

    As for other communications devices, specifically two-way radios (commercial, CB, Ham), their use is quite different from talking on a cellphone or texting. As someone already pointed out, when talking into a microphone the driver does not look at the mic, he/she looks at the road. Most two-way conversations are brief and sporadic – the mic is not held to the face for 30 mins while chattering away to another person. And obviously the driver does not have to stare at the mic and concentrate on spelling out a message like texting.

    Finally, someone said that it’s not what your body is doing, it’s where your head is….Ok…I almost buy that…except we then must ban any activity which could distract you mentally while driving. That means no stereo/cd/mp3 players, no conversations with passengers, no roadside advertising signs/billboards, etc. Not to mention the major attention-getter of having police or emergency vehicles come up behind you with lights flashing and sirens blaring – instantly your eyes are glued to the rear-view mirror and NOT on the road…sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

    All this, to prevent a type of accident which kills fewer people than lightning strikes each year.

    My 2 cents.

  10. Jedimomma2007 says:

    so glad that this was passed into not only a prvincial/territorial law but a national law.

    how many times have i been on the road (in my parents car as i dont drive) adn seen someone cause an accident cause they’ve been on their phone? too many to count. its the biggest reason y i dont have my licence. im too scared to drive on the road because of OTHER DRIVERS!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Brian Wieland says:

    1) Right now my cell phone prohibition is working but slowly, and Mayor Rob Ford is “NOT” exempt from the cell phone law, try reading that law. Don’t beleive me try calling the Toronto Police Services.

    2) Right now I’m trying to get the new provincial government to take stronger action in regards to the cell phone issue.

    3) For those who don’t like my postings, well then don’t read them.

  12. I love how people think passing more laws will somehow stop people from talking on the cell while driving. Like the stupid 2009 comments above. It’s 2011 and people are STILL chatting and texting while driving….. they now only attempt to hide this, which usually has their cell in their lap while they text, causing them to look down. The roads were better and safer when peoples eyes were up on the road.

    Prohibition doesn’t work, never has, never will.

    As for Rob Ford …. Mayor, police, Fire… are exempt from that cell phone law while conducting business. So stop your crying and complain about real issues, like traffic grid lock.

  13. Brian Wieland says:

    Sure the police are allowed to use cell phones while on duty BUT there are NOT setting a good example for others on the road just like Mayor Rob Ford — he wasn’t charged because “He’s the Mayor”.

    Right now I’m ashamed of our law system and how they are handling the cell phone law…………

  14. Rob Wallington says:

    Cell phone use while driving should be concidered as a danger to the public, as well as any type of figiting while driving, which is chargeable under the criminal code of Canada and come with an automatic licence suspension. This would keep those drivers off the road.

  15. Brian Wieland says:

    So far no one is taking this new law seriously enough, it’s one BIG JOKE. Yet when there is an accident because of those stupid phones our insurance rates go up!! We need to start somekind of on line petition to tell the authorities enough is enough. $155 Fine just isn’t working maybe $500 or $1000 Fine instead…….

  16. I think they should put more un-marked cars on our 401 and major hwys that get the traffic, to catch these people texting and talking on their phones more. I get upset when I see people not paying attention to the road, and leaving huge gaps of more then 4 cars inbetween them when in the fast or passing lanes. Holding up everyone, and not paying attn. I see every day at least 4 people alone everyday coming and going home each day on the 401. One day it will be serious, and I am hoping that the fee’s for committing these unlawful acts under the Motor Vehicle Act INCREASE. If not, get the Police out there to catch them! I value my life, and family..

  17. E Knelsen says:

    I must say its both men and women that still use their phones while driving, of course females are gonna blame it on the males and vice versa just to make themselves look better, but here’s something to think about when you’re on the road, a lot of ppl drive like idiots when they’re yakking on the phone, for instance, driving in the far left lane talking and not paying attention to how close you are to your exit, and sure enough you cut across all 3 lanes just to make that exit instead of slowly merging to make it safely.

    Then they wonder why there’s so many accidents on the road, and especially when they get on the hwy, they’re too busy yakking on the phone they don’t pay attention to look if there’s traffic coming, they just veer right onto the hwy and don’t think about the truck drivers that are hauling 45,000 lbs, news flash ppl, trucks can’t stop on dime!

    But of course, its the truck drivers fault for you talking on the phone. Another thing, if you’re only doing 90 km/h on a major hwy, stay in the right lane, idiots that are in the center or left lane and are going slower than the rest of the traffic are the ones causing all the accidents and backups! Think before you get on the hwy!

  18. Kristen Daniels says:

    “A lot of people still consider this cell phone ban as a challenge and not a warning. To them the fine is pocket change. …”

    Here is a an article about a distracted driving injustice; the victim was friend Joel, who was killed last year by a texting driver in North Carolina. Not quite right, is it? We’re going to work on getting the penalties for this crime changed because it is totally ridiculous. You can do the same.

  19. marsh carroll says:

    Hope u like my new made in Winnipeg music video about dangers of distracted driving – Won’t Start Texting

  20. This is a great overview of Canadian legislation related to the use of hand-held electronic devices and other forms of distracted driving. I founded an organization called Drop It And Drive in September 2010 in order to help raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, ideally before a distracted driver hurts or kills someone I love. Unfortunately, in spite of my efforts our 8-year-old daughter was in a vehicle hit by a distracted driver. Working with Fire Fighters, RCMP and Young Drivers of Canada, we’ve spoken to well over 1,000 teens since Nov. 2010 at local schools & we reached hundreds of K-7 students through a poster contest. Most of them are just not aware of the risks they take when driving distracted or as a passenger of a distracted driver…by the end of our presentations, they are.

    And, they also learn that this issue is not just about teens or new drivers; distracted driving is a problem that affects new & experienced drives, professional drivers, the young and the old. The United Nations and the World Health Organization just declared a decade of action for road safety running from 2011 to 2020 to address this issue. Worldwide, 3,500 people leave home EVERY DAY and don’t return because of road crashes. Something has to change.

    Studies coming of of the States, specifically Western Washington University, (none that I’ve found in Canada yet) are finding that it’s not a question of what our hands are doing it’s what our head is doing that dictates our level of concentration. When you’re engaged in a phone conversation (hands free or not), you become blind to some things around you…it’s called inattentional blindness. Legislation is a great start, however, without education and awareness it just won’t work.

  21. Brian Wieland says:

    Here is my idea in regards to those who continue to use cell phones;

    I’ve been making a very long list of every person breaking the cell phone law by recording their license plate number, the date & time. I will be sending this list to the local court system. To further prove this request through the police to do a transmission trace through their cell phone provider.

  22. Brian Wieland says:

    1) How can police not be distracted if using cell phone and their onboard computer?
    2) I told a couple of Peel Police Officers that I had an idea how to decrease the amount of people still using cell phones, they told me that I was wasting my time & will not make it to court.
    3) I witnessed a police officer on his cell phone right behind a motorist that was also on a cell phone, what kind of example is that?
    4) A lot of people still concider this cell phone ban as a challange and not a warning. To them the fine is pocket change……….

  23. I honesty agree with some of you, not only if they can’t multi-task then don’t do it at all. I know some who knows when to multi-task and some who don’t know. Let’s say when you stop at a red light I personally know it’s ok to check your messages and reply them back if you have time but when the light turn green then you should be putting away your cellphone.

    I know someone who uses their cell and hung up on me when when they’re switching lanes or turn right/left at the intersection. You know call when you’re going to be home late or behind a car accident scene or whatever the situation are, yeah call them so they won’t get worry. My friends been doing that for more than 6 years and they’re super cautious when they drive while they’re on their cellphone and not one of them been into a car accident. Even though they’re distracted they know when to stop using their phone when they can’t use it anymore. Even though some of you might be thinking “someday, something bad will happen” well that’s their own risk and I know a lot who also don’t pick up their phone while driving because they know they can’t concentrate.

    I think it should be a popularity vote for Alberta that is but everyone should know about it so it can be a fair vote.

  24. Looking over all provinces from east to west I agree driving down the road with your eyes looking at a keyboard of a cell phone while typing is dangerous or punching in a phone number on the cell not a good idea. But as someone said there are other distractions even putting the ashes of a cigarette in the ash tray altho it is still a distraction it is only split second so where do you draw the line.All truckers are heavy users of CB radios I dont recall anyone going off the road using a microphone on a CB set because you dont look at the mike you look at the road. In NB they wish to ban the use of ham radio for safety sake but allow taxi drivers to use their 2 way radios. This is stupid a taxi driver driving in a conjested area likely using his 2 way radio several times is more of a hazard than any ham operator using his maybe 5 or 10 minutes every few days and like the CB user hams dont look at their microphone when using it. I dont see this ham restriction mantioned for any other province so why NB ???

  25. I keep seeing Police Officers on the phone while driving and yesterday had one yell at me out his window “police officers are allowed to talk while driving” and then proceeded to tell me to have a nice day.

    So what gives a Police Officer the right, they are just like the rest of us while driving, don’t they deserve the same treatment as the rest of us.

    Sometimes I wonder as this is not the first time I have seen an Officer abuse his “status”??

  26. James McNeil says:

    I have worked in the cell phone industry and am not convinced that speaking on a cell phone is anymore dangerous than changing the CD in the stereo, watching or setting the GPS, looking after children in the back or front seat, lighting a smoke, drink of coffee, and the list goes on and on. Texting emailing or browsing the web should never happen behind the wheel ever, but doesn’t that go with common sense! There are fines for speeding, not stopping completely at a stop sign, yet people do these everyday. Cell phones will not make the highways and streets any safer than they already are. Talking on a cell used with intelligence can only make our streets safer by reporting crimes and reckless drivers.

  27. My comute to work takes me 1hour and 45 minutes, whitch consists of a bus ride and TTC comute. Since the cell phone ban came into effect, I still see alot of distracted drivers on the cell phone texting and driving. I think the fine of $155 is not enough. We should look at increasing the fine and imposing a jail time of five to 10 days on top of it if an accident was in the equation. Maybee then we will see a reduction in cell phone usage as well when driving.

  28. People ..are obsessed with their cell phone! I haven’t one and I don’t plan on getting one.
    My kids grew up in the 80;s and survived quite well without them.
    I feel that they should be used for emergencies and emgergencies only………(while pulled off to the side of the road obviously!)
    I get so sick of seeing people texting PERIOD .
    What is this stupid obsession with their little “toys”
    People are like sheep one gets a new toy everyone else has to have one.
    I am so glad I am not one of them I say increase the fines fo being caught driving while on the phone or texting
    A firm message needs to get out there that this will not be tolerated. Other innocent people should not have to pay for their stupidity.

  29. K Milwain says:

    First of all i wanna say people who text/talk while driving make me absolutally sick . I do not feel comfterble knowing that my life is being held in someone elses hands . Therefore , this is disgusting and needs to come to an end. Make the fine an amount NO ONE could afford. That way people wont do it . And the second offense should be even worse . People dont care about anything anymore thats the reality . Seriously. But at the end of the day innocent people are loosing their lives everyday , for no reason at all . Put the phone down !! Your stupid unimportant conversation is NOT more important than my life OR anyone elses.

  30. Do you ever think that everyone who has a phone or smart hpoine uses while they drive? I live in Calgary and there are nurmous people using cell phones while driving! Both men and women! There is no need to zero out women in this issue because everyone does, you know and I know! People just have to take their own into their hands, its like wearing a seat belt you have to awareness of the safety behind but you won’t know the consequences until you get a ticker. The same when the cell phone you won’t know the consequnces until you get a ticket or end up in a car accident!

    I know of incidences that one accident was casued my a young girl texting in the middle of a winter storm and rearended someone on hwy 2. Then I know another incident where a young guy was talking on his phone and stopped short and rearended another vehicle. You take the risk into you own hands! Be smart and leave you phone in the back seat or in the glove box. Leave it alone! Plus Alberta needs to get on top of this or we are going to be last to jump on board!!

  31. paul richatd says:

    Telecommunication companies need to create smart phones that will not operate in any way while the phone is moving at a speed faster than a person can walk. The law can ban the use but will it not stop users, Imagine if everyone drank and had a bottle opened at hands reach, now think about how many people have access to use the phone while driving.

    I run a business and nothing is more important to me than the safety of our employees and the public. So I say to you the smart phone engineers make us a safe smart phone.

  32. The issue of the distracted driver goes way beyond the use of cell phone. I spend more than three hours a day communiting on the highways around the GTA. I have never been involve in an accident, but one day this past winter I had four near misses. Incidentally, they were all women. Men can be just as bad. Two of them invloved people talking on the phone (after the ban came into effect). One was smoking a cigarette and putting on make up. The last one just was’nt watching when turning on a red light. Many drivers are distracted by food or beverages (coffee!!!). Legislation is not the answer. Public awareness campaigns works better. Higher insurance rates are dramatically more severe than the fines handed out under legislation.

  33. I see cell/texting use from all kinds of drivers, here is an idea, instead of trying to blame one group or in this case gender, just make it a law across Canada, the same in every province.

  34. Tom from Calgary says:

    I hate to say it, but I agree with Tim Watson on this. Driving around in Calgary, the vast majority of the distracted drivers I encounter on our streets are women who are texting or reading texts while driving. I don’t know about other places, but I really do believe there is a gender difference here in Calgary. I’d be curious for the official numbers concerning distracted driving charges in the past 3-5 years, and how they break down by age and gender.

  35. I have to agree with Z. It’s not just the ladies doing it. Here in Montreal, where we actually now have a ban on hand-held phones, I still see about a 50/50 split between men and women using the cell phone while driving. They use it on Decarie Expressway and along the Metropolitain section of Transcanada, one of the busiest and more dangerous areas for driving in Montreal.

    It’s not enough to make a law. The police need to enforce it too. A few $300 fines might get them to open the wallets and get a Bluetooth, or stop using it at all while on the move.

  36. Take a drive downtown or on the 401 and I guarantee you’ll see plenty of men talking, texting and emailing on their smart phones while driving. The mere fact that your test site is a Walmart parking lot, primarily the domain of women, skews the numbers, so of course you would see mainly women on phone.

  37. tim watson says:

    PLEASE, pass this ban into LAW for ONTARIO
    I am so sick of seeing women on th highway every morning on my commute not paying attenition while they are on their phone…why do I hardly see Men using cell phones while driving or pulling out of Walmart parking lots…this is really starting to scare me… careless….driving a vehicle is a privelegde and requires utmost attention…I feel more and more my life is at risk with this issue!!!!!!!!!!

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