Ontario’s ban on the use of cellphones, BlackBerrys and other hand-held electronic devices by drivers will take effect in October.
Transportation Minister Jim Bradley says motorists can expect an education period when the ban first comes into effect, which means police will show some leniency.
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He says that’s what happened in other jurisdictions when they banned cellphones for drivers, and Ontario will follow that pattern.
Ontario drivers could be fined up to $500 if they’re caught using their hand-held cellphones or BlackBerrys to talk, email or send text messages while behind the wheel.
Bradley says hands-free devices aren’t covered by the legislation, but they are not recommended for use while driving.
Ontario is the fourth province to enact such a ban, following Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Manitoba has introduced similar legislation.
Drivers are also banned from using portable video games and DVD players but they are allowed to use their cellphones for 911 calls.
Global positioning systems are allowed, as long as they’re properly secured to the dashboard.
There are no demerit points attached to the Ontario law, unlike in other provinces.
However, Bradley says Ontario motorists using a banned cellphone could also be charged under careless driving laws and face fines, six demerit points, a driver’s licence suspension and even jail time.