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October 05, 2009


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Connor Young

Research conducted by live science shows driving while on a cell phone causes the driver's reaction time to be 18 percent slower. Thus, causing more vehicle accidents.

Saba Ali

i agree with Johnny, and disagree too.
I think we need to put all drivers here in ETIQUETTE school, as everyone on the road seems to think they OWN that road!
why not put up red light cameras, or speeding cameras so those caught speeding or driving past a red light can get ticketed. If all the people I see breaking driving laws were ticketed, the gov. of Ontario would be very rich by now.

there are many alternatives available here, the only problem is to implement them!

Johnny Cash

How do you text on a hands-free device?? The author misses the point that this ban will discourage texters from driving with their eyes in their lap. Even though drivers are still speaking on their cell phones hands free, at least their eyes are on the road.


If I thought the law was going to do any good whatsoever, I would support it.

The scientific research suggests it won't.

If basing my opinions on scientific research makes me an idiot, then pass me that dunce cap.

Jim Kenzie


Again, we're not exactly sure why, but it does seem that talking to a disembodied person requires more brain cells than talking (or singing!) to someone in the car.

As one commenter noted, the other person in the car knows why you occasionally stumble over words - they can see that other driver cutting you off. They also act as another pair of eyes in the car - in neither case is the other end of a cell phone conversation able to participate.

Jim Kenzie


Neither I nor the studies showed that 'texting' is as dangerous as talking hands-free, just that talking hands-free is no safer than talking hand-held.

Hence, this law is unlikely to have any - you should pardon the expression - impact.

Testing is a whole other issue.

Jim Kenzie


Hi Saba:

Welcome back. Interesting perspective after a couple of years away.

I would agree, our driving has deteriorated over time, for the reasons you list and a whole bunch more.

I have also noted in my travels that driving tends to be worse in big cities. Just as Toronto is worse than, say, Regina, Sydney is worse than Melbourne.

I wish I had a Silver Bullet answer for you. I do regularly print and blog on suggestions which would at least create a better driving environment, but so far with little effect!

Geez; I don't have to run for public office, do I?

Jim Kenzie



1. My friends at U of T may be wrong, but their conclusions have been verified over and over by other researchers. And scientific research is what it is specifically because it does NOT rely on 'anecdotal' evidence, such as your personal observations.

2. You are correct here. The fact is, most people drive with one hand anyway. Are we going to ban that?

3. Again, they often don't anyway. If that's the problem, then let's ban turning or lane-changing without using a signal. No wait - that's already illegal...

4. No arguments here either - except I'm not sure texting is even covered by this ban.

5. I'm pretty sure every cell phone sold in the last, oh, several years has hands-free capability. I bought the cheapest one I could find and it even came with a little headset. Or, like the e-mail joke that went around a few years ago, you could just strap your phone to your head with a big elastic band.

6. Maybe. But a ticket for this does not result in points so I doubt even that would have any effect.

Jim Kenzie

Joost von Weiler

Since the police cannot possibly catch people using a cell phone or texting the only thing possible is to make all insurance companies change the policies, so that any cell phone use or texting causing an accident would void the policy and the rates will double afterwards.

John Lyon

It was scarey the other day when I was driving behind a young man on the QEW. He was weaving, slowing down and speeding up. I thought he was drunk. When I overtook him eventully to get out of his way, I saw he was texting on his phone.
The week previous a young woman on her cell phone was trying to eat an apple and use her cell phone at the same time. Humerous but stupid!
I read now that they are speedly developing new technologies to keep these people talking on the phone while driving - very sad!

John L.

David Michaels

Not all people have the same brain capacity. For example, some people can not even walk and chew gum. So a single legal standard to determine what is unsafe is a major imposition for those who can in fact drive safely while talking on a phone.

In 1990, I used to use 5000 minutes a month on my phone while driving. I've driven more than two million kilometers. I've never had an at-fault accident. I've also never had an accident while on the phone.

I've cut my phone usage over the past few years. Now I'm down to about 100 minutes a month while I'm on the road.

I've restricted my longer conversations on the phone to when I am driving in the left lane.

Completely banning talking on the phone while driving would be a major imposition to myself and others. Letting people know that I'm stuck in traffic reduces my stress and enables me to take my time and drive safely.

Traffic researchers should focus their attention on streamlining traffic and assisting the MTO with construction choke points.

Innocent Bystander

Because some of the research that proved that the oh-so-real deterioration in driving skill associated with these devices is due to the mental distraction of phoning or texting, not the reduction in physical dexterity caused by the manipulation of the devices, was done by U of T engineering faculty.
Well...until we find a way to develop a meter measuring mental alertness, all we can do is to reduce the patently obvious sources of distraction....cellphone, texting, hald-held vanity mirror...list is not all-inclusive but who can have an argument with that? Go ahead and suggest an alternative....

frances wintrob

Now while driving, I have people in front or at the side of me who hear their cellphone ring and either turn sharply (without signalling or warning) over to the side of the road, or slow down to a crawl trying to figure out what to do and where they can pull over while meandering between two lanes. If you are talking, hand-held or not, your mind is on your conversation. It's bad enough having to drive in this city with all the people on the road who do not signal, cut you off, ride your bumper continuously (even if you are doing 120 clicks on the highway) - ban conversations on a cellphone completely.
The one I love the most is the TTC driver with a busload or subway full of people who yak on the phone non-stop and get very annoyed if you ask them a question and interrupt their conversation. I've complained about this, but nobody seems to care.


So I guess we should only drive alone? Talking to somebody or smooching with your partner while driving is just as dangerous and distracting. People fight when riding together, passengers in back seat can also be a big distraction, so it boils down to one thing and one thing alone, common sense. People need to start being able to do a self analysis, if they are getting honked at, sworn at and almost beaten up for errors while driving and they notice this only happens, or happens more, while talking or texting, well they should leave those things for when they are pulled over or at home/in office.

People also eat and drink while driving, blow their nose.. or other things I prefer not to mention... so what then?

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