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October 28, 2008


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Could it be that your passenger is at least peripherally aware of traffic as well? Both the driver and passenger will pause (and or gasp "Oh Sh$~!") when traffic conditions change. On a cell phone, the remote participant is oblivious to the circumstances the driver is in and just blathers on.


The biggest problems are not the gadgets or the speed of the car. The real issue is that people are not adjusting their speed or don't shut up when situation requires them to do so. When people can't figure out what are they are doing or what they should be caution about, things always get ugly, with or without cellphone.


This contrast between a cell phone conversation and an in-car conversation should make for some very interesting study. While I can only speculate on the causes (and my speculation is different than yours) I know absolutely from experience that it is true. I consider myself to be a competent driver, and probably better than most on the road, but know full well how diminished my abilities are when trying to juggle a cell phone. I've tried it, found how utterly impaired I felt doing it, and now avoid it like the plague.

When my phone rings, I've usually got three options. If someone else is in the car, I'll just hand it over to be answered. If I'm by myself, I'll either ignore it entirely, or pick it up long enough to say "Hey... I'm driving... hold on..." and then drop it on the seat next to me while I find a place to pull over.

With that in mind, I have no idea how people can defend the practice, claiming to be able to drive just fine while talking on the phone. Perhaps their brains work differently than my own, but I'm just not buying it.

Enforcement shouldn't be too hard... just look for the cars leaving 10 car lengths of space ahead of them and driving at 10 km/h under the limit. Whenever you see one of those and pull up alongside... sure enough they're on the phone. Of course, proving that in court may be another thing entirely.

GTA Traffic Sucks

I for one actually thought there was a law already in place for cell phones and that you had to use hands free. I have ear piece headphones for my blackberry to make calls, but I find the earpieces distracting to me. You are still listening to someone's questions or what they are talking about. That takes away your focus just as much as holding it in your hand physically. I haven't found a difference from holding my phone to my ear than from using the earpieces, other than my arm hurts after a long call from holding the phone.

I think it will be a good way to remove a lot of bad driving that happens everyday. Just the other week, I was heading home and I take the Hamilton ramp on Hurontario. If anyone has driven there recently they will know that the on-ramp is short now with the construction and the curved on-ramp has a short wall right on the line.

This obviously confuses people as this BMW driver in front of me stopped at the apex of the on-ramp and proceeded to go 35 km /hr and wait to merge into a Live lane! He merged at like 35 and I couldn't believe my eyes. People in the right lane were slamming their brakes to not hit him and then I had to squeeze in at such a slow speed into a Live Lane. I then passed him as he finally reached 80 km / hr and I look over and he's on his cell phone! He looks over knowing he's driving stupid but just doesn't care and continues to chat it up. Way too much distraction that this driver obviously could not handle! He's just 1 of many you see everyday, and if this law prevents them from doing then I'm for it.

Although I'm sure if this same BMW driver decided to use a hands free bluetooth device he would have merged at the same speed. People get engaged in the conversation and that leads to distraction, not the physical act of holding the cell phone.

On my morning commute through the Highway part I like to call "brake light heaven" (Burlington), I constantly see people putting on make up, shaving, eating. These people are just as guilty! But then it comes to the question, what about coffee? People get Timmies every morning; is this a distraction? And gps units? If you input the place before you leave they are fine but if you try and input a city while driving its dangerous too.

I did read in The Star that the $500 fine also comes if you use your ipod? I have set up my car so that I can listen to my ipod in the car. I purposely have an older ipod so by feel I can quickly change to the next song. I chose not to go the route of the new iPod Touch, as you physically have to look at the screen to see where the next button is.

I would be pretty angry if I hit the "next" button on the ipod and got a fine for it, while someone reaching to hit the next button on the radio wouldn't. It's the same thing as you are physically hitting something to switch a song. I can see if you're scrolling through songs while driving your eyes would go off the road and be dangerous though, but hitting next really isn't. And at that point, how is it proved of what you were doing? I can have my ipod in my car, and I move my briefcase over. If the police think you were changing a song, they could give you a ticket even though you were not?

I'll love to see how this law plays out, but definitely some people on their cell phones in rush hour are horrible!

And my novel ends :)

Bob Milling

A different slant on the difference between cell 'phone conversation and 'live' in the car. When someone is talking to me while I am driving, and a situation occurs in my range of sight, I usually either clam up or say something like "hold it!', so I can deal with whatever. The other person (invariably my wife) normally is also watching down the road, so she may see whatever it is that requires 100% of my attention. A person at the other end of a 'phone call has no idea what the driver is dealing with.

John Ganton

Please tell us how to enforce a complete ban? It's pretty dumb to pass a law that can't be enforced.


It is interesting that you bring up the live conversation factor as that's my main point of debate towards the absurdity of this law as well in my conversations among my peers.

I do think that our licensing system as a whole (in this country; not just this province) is an absolute joke when it comes to allowing capable drivers on the road.

One only needs to watch Discovery Channel's "Canada's Worst Driver" to see the proof of the point above. The fact that it's ran 4 seasons should tell us something. How some of the people on the show received their licenses in the first place makes me question the effectiveness and integrity of people who holds the power to issue driver's licenses.

This law on cell-phone ban confirms once again my belief about our society as a whole: We would much prefer to lower our standards to the lowest common denominator; instead of raising the bar for people to meet to make this a better place. Science and math tests too hard in high school? Make it easier to kids don't hurt their feelings by failing. People not mentally capable of having a conversation AND operating a vehicle while paying attention to traffic? No problem, just ban the device that allows for such conversation.


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