Tuesday 27 October 2009

Cell phone ban & travelling in Muskoka

I must admit that I never really turn my cell phone on! There are a few people I know who never give the number out, except in extreme cases. Our new law bans the use of any handheld portable devices like a DVD or phone. The fine is up to $500, but will not be enforced, at the Minister's demand, until Feb. 1, 2010 (?!).

Research shows people are 4 times more likely to be in a crash, than those who concentrate on the road and their driving (Canada Safe). Of course, those who are not giving their full attention to their driving put us all at risk.

I am very happy with the new laws that make it illegal in Ontario to use such technology in a car, while driving. Now, I am sure I'll get some negative comments on this, as I did with the recent revision to the Ontario Drinking & Driving Laws.

Muskoka roads are fast: most are highways have a posted speed limit of 80 km/hour. But few follow this. There are those who drive 20 km below the limit (also dangerous, and these people should be reported), but this is a different story as frustrated drivers try to pass in unsafe conditions. Driving safley in Muskoka includes watching out for moose and deer, as well as small animals.

This man, above right, was sitting in heavy traffic in a small town, trying to make a left-hand turn while talking on his cell phone. Obviously, a contractor (his licence plate read: I FIXUM) and I know that people in this line of work spend a lot of time on the road. This is a problem in Muskoka, where many rely on contractors, who are incredibly busy. StatCan (StatCan, 2006) tells us that 80 % of these people not only drive to work, but we have a fair number of people who are in trades, and sales & service (80 %; StatCan, 2006), and many of these people drive about servicing customers, and doing work at customer's homes. Traffic can be dense on our two-lane highways, especially in the early morning and around 4 p.m., and this is when wildlife is active. The Sounds of Silence, the myth of rural Ontario.

Our roads are fairly flat, but they wind through the granite rock of Muskoka's Precambrian Shield, and provide unsafe driving conditions in, for example, the frozen rain and sleet of November weather. Then, when the snow hits, people get even crazier!

Who bans cell phone use?
According to Canada Safe, banned locales include: Newfoundland, Quebec, Nova Scotia and, now, Ontario.

Other countries in which a ban is in force for the entire nation:

Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil,Botswana, Chile, China, Czech Reblic, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovak Republik, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, UK. I include these, because, as with the US, the ban is limited to particular provinces and states, but it is not a nation-wide ban.

Drinking & Driving laws in Ontario

While some may think this post better belongs in My Reflections & Musings blog, I believe that the party attitude of cottage country needs an alignment. I have blogged a few times here about the tragic accidents that continue to occur, many due to drinking and driving and speed


Kathy W said...

I have a cellphone but the only time I turn the darn thing on is when I make long distant phone calls to my family out of state. I hate talking on the phone with a passion. No one has my cell number and even if they do they could never reach me on the cell. Banning cell phones is kinda a lost cause because it would be impossible to enforce.

Judy said...

And it is not just cell phones, Jenn - I was reading a brief description of the legislation, and it includes arguing with someone in the car with you, and dogs in the driver's lap. Or reaching for something, or eating!

Gaelyn said...

A good law to support and enforce. Drive when your driving. Most times multitasking is not a good idea, especially behind the wheel. Good post Jenn.

Carolyn said...

Hi Jenn, I believe BC joins the ranks of no cell phone use while driving starting November 1. It has not been a problem here yet as we were a "cell phone free zone" up until a couple of days ago. What gets me is how we have become so addicted to these electronic toys and why we let them take over our lives and why we find it so hard to pull off the road when you need to talk.
I remember when cell phone use came into prominence in Ontario after the murder of a young college student on the 401 between Woodstock and London Ontario probably about 20 years ago now. At the time they said if she had had a cell phone she might not have died. Now we are dying because of them.
You will get no flack from me.
Smiles and blessings

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I would support a law like that here in the US. I don't think that it would ever pass though.

Cloudia said...

Banned here in Honolulu too too :]

Aloha, Friend!

Comfort Spiral

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Jenn: I think this is a good idea to ban cell phones. You need to keep your eyes on the road.
BTW: Why is there no comment area on the newer post?

Lorac said...

I drove all over Canada for my last employer and was aghast at how many people were almost hit or hit someone else while yakking on their cell phones.I don't believe everyone is an idiot while driving and using a cell phone but unfortunately there are enough people out there who are incapable of doing both safely. So the law goes to all for safety on the roads. Here, here!