Careless Driving in Ontario: New law bans cellphone use while driving

cellnoon Get your hands off those cellphones, Ontario drivers — a new law that bans using hand-held devices to talk, email, or send text messages while behind the wheel was passed today.

The new rules, which won’t come into effect until at least the fall, include a fine of up to $500 as the province joins other jurisdictions in cracking down on drivers using the devices.

The law doesn’t affect the use of hands-free devices such as Bluetooths or using cellphones for 911 calls, but it does include portable video games, MP3 players and DVD players.

Global positioning systems will be allowed, as long as they’re properly secured to the dashboard.

There are no demerit points attached to the bill — unlike in other provinces — but drivers who excersise careless driving in Ontario and place others at risk by using one of the banned devices can also be charged under existing careless driving laws.

Ontario is the fourth province to enact such a ban, following Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Nova Scotia.