Nope, not Groundhog Day's Eve - although I guess it is that too.
It's the day when your cell phone better NOT be ringing a bell, or any other ring tone, while you're driving in Ontario, unless you are hands-free.
Because today's the day when your get-out-of-a-fine card expires. The cops will now roust you to the tune of $155 if you're caught texting or talking other than 'hands-free'.
There seems to be some doubt as to what constitutes 'hands-free'. An article on our front page today says the cops are wise to sticking the phone in your hair. I have previously printed the picture of the guy who stuck his phone in a headband.
Come on. Both of those are 'hands-free'. What's your problem? No criminals to catch today?
There is also some doubt as to which devices are illegal. It appears that GPS SatNav systems that are 'integral' with the car are OK; most of them have the most distracting functions disabled when the car is in motion anyway.
But what about TomTom and Garmin? If they are suction-cupped to your windshield, does that make them 'integral'?
Only your local Justice of the Peace knows for sure.
And (s)he probably isn't going to tell you in advance, not until you take your ticket to court.
Only the cops and the politicians responsible for this boondoggle still harbour any belief that it will do any good. (That's their 'official' position anyway.) Every shred of reliable evidence suggests otherwise, from the initial research conducted over ten years ago by the University of Toronto doctor who showed that hands-free and hand-held makes absolutely no difference, to a more recent study comparing before-and-after hand-held cell phone bans in three US states and the District of Columbia which showed no reduction in cell-phone-related crashes.
For details on this study, visit:
So, we have scientific theory, backed up by solid research, that this cannot and does not work.
But our politicians' minds, such as they are, are made up; let's not confuse them with facts.
Let's instead clog up our already overloaded courtrooms with a whole bunch more totally irrelavant charges, while real driving problems abound.
So, feel free to eat your cereal, sort through your vacation photographs, shave, apply make-up, read the newspaper, drink your Starbucks venti extra-hot one percent latte, or even change your pants while you drive.
No problem there.
Just don't - gasp - use your cell phone.