...or the O. P. P. is gonna getcha.
Or so they say.
This week, they're starting one of their 'blitzes', this time aimed at 'distracted drivers'.
We all know about the 'hands-free' cell phone law which went into effect a while back.
We also all know:
(a) that this law is essentially pointless, because talking on the phone is not materially more distracting hand-held as it is hands-free;
(b) that after a brief 'honeymoon' following this law's introduction, most people started ignoring it anyway.
With extra attention allegedly being paid to it now by the O.P.P., maybe compliance will increase.
From (a) above, though, we know that it won't make a whit of difference.
The only hope here is that if the perp is too distracted to notice a cop is watching him on the phone, he really IS distracted.
OFF WITH HIS HEAD!
The cell phone law is popular with the police because it's pretty much open-and-shut.
You're carrying a hand-held device, you're guilty.
Bang!! (That's the gavel, not a gun...). $155 or however many days.
But the O. P. P. is also looking for other distracted-driving behaviour, which they say can include eating, searching for something you've dropped under your seat, or the infamous applying make-up/shaving/changing clothes/sorting vacation photographs/reading a newspaper/watching a movie on a HandiCam/fill in your own favourite here.
These can result in a Careless Driving charge, which will hit you a lot harder, points- and cash-wise, although they might be a bit harder to make stick in court.
If this blitz does nothing else but direct scarce police resources away from their futile and pointless obsession with speed limit enforcement, I'm all for it.
If it actually catches some distracted drivers, well, bonus.
If only the police would direct their enforcement attention to what I believe is the biggest safety issue we face these days: Lane discipline.
As Lorraine Sommerfeld's recent feature with Ron Fellows noted (read it here), I'm not alone in believing this to be a huge issue.
The laws are there - failure to drive right and failure to yield to the right to overtaking cars are both contrary to Ontario's Highway Traffic Act.
And no, it does NOT matter if you're doing the speed limit or not. Obeying one law does not give you the right to break others: just because you're not murdering a guy doesn't mean you're allowed to rob him.
All we need is for the cops to enforce these provisions, and for the Justices of the Peace to convict when the charges come to court.
Oh yeah - if the Ministry of Transportation would quit making the Driving Lane disappear all the time it sure would help...
We also could benefit if the police would use their considerable political power to encourage legislation along the lines of New York State and other jurisdictions: if your wipers are on, your full lights have to be on too.
I see SO many cars - especially during the recent monsoon season - puttering along the highway in heavy rain with no lights showing to the rear at all.
What - are these people nuts?
Sadly, I think so...
The Provincial police forces can't do much about Transport Canada's abject failure to make Daytime Running Lights legislation meaningful - DRL should require ALL lights, front and rear, to be on ALL the time.
(You of course as an individual can make this happen, and I hope you all do...).
Or, at the very least, Transport Canada should make it illegal for instrument lighting to be on when DRL is active, so drivers won't be fooled at dusk into thinking that they do have their proper lights on.
What are the chances of meaningful improvements in our traffic law enforcement?
I'm not particularly sanguine.
This very morning, in the middle of this blitz, I saw an O. P. P. black-and-white sitting in the weeds on the 407. From where he was parked, there's no way he could have spotted a cereal bowl, let alone a cell phone.
His radar gun, however...
Oh, speaking of lane discipline - the 407 has to be the worst road in the WORLD for that. OK, maybe tied with the entire Shanghai Expressway system.