Ontario cell phone ban results in 470 fines in 30 days

The three-month grace period has ended for Ontario motorists.  In one month, the Ontario Provincial Police handed out 470 tickets to people caught violating the new distracted driving law.

Since February 1, police officers have been enforcing the new law without holding back.  In addition to the 470 tickets, 468 warnings were issued on a discretionary basis.   Fines start as low as $60 and can get up to $500.

The Greater Toronto Area accounts for almost a third of these fines, with 155.  While these numbers may seem small for a population of more than 12 millions, let’s keep in mind that they only include tickets and warnings from the provincial police and that more may have been issued by local police departments.

For Insp. Dave Ross, the new law seems to have a positive impact on many drivers.

“We’ve noticed a marked decline in the number of drivers using handheld devices both during the education period and since we started more actively enforcing the legislation on the first of February,” he told the Canadian Press.

Ontario’s distracted driving law prohibits drivers to talk, text, type, dial or email using hand-held devices. Calls to 911 are an exception.  It is also illegal for drivers to use electronic devices such as a laptop or a portable DVD player while driving.

During the grace period between October 26 and February 1, police issued more than 3,300 warnings.

Source: The Canadian Press, March 3, 2010

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