It’s no April fool’s joke.
Starting tomorrow, drivers will have to put down their cellphones while behind the wheel and butt out when kids are in the car.
Legislation making each activity illegal kicks in, and police will be watching for both infractions.
The cellphone ban is the result of a Tory bill introduced at the end of November which gives police the power to ticket people for driving while using a hand-held cellphone.
Penalties begin at $164 for the first infraction and increase by $50 for each subsequent offence.
Halifax Regional Police Chief Frank Beazley said the ban will reduce accidents caused by inattention. Sgt. Garry Smith said officers will likely treat people who use cellphones while driving the same way they treat drivers who don’t wear seatbelts.
“There’s infractions there; you would act accordingly,” he said.
The ban on smoking in cars when kids are present is the result of a Liberal bill passed in mid-December and makes Nova Scotia the first province in the country with such legislation.
Smokers caught lighting up in their cars with children under the age of 19 will have to pay a $384 fine, but Health Promotion and Protection Minister Barry Barnet said police will take the first days of the ban as an opportunity to inform people of the consequences of smoking in enclosed spaces.
“It’s not really about fining moms and dads; it’s about giving them education,” he said.
Barnet said last week that since this legislation passed, other jurisdictions have followed the province’s lead.
Ontario, for example, recently introduced the legislation and regions in the U.K. have pointed to this “small Canadian province” as the reason for similar bans introduced on the other side of the Atlantic.