The 411 on the new distracted driving rules

Ontario’s new distracted driving rules come into effect today. Here’swhat you need to know before you hit the road, according to York RegionPolice Sgt. Ed Villamere.

Ontario’s new distracted driving rules come into effect today. Here’s what you need to know before you hit the road, according to York Region Police Sgt. Ed Villamere.

Although chatting and texting are the issues that concern most drivers, the law also prohibits the use of display screens unrelated to driving tasks, including DVDs or laptops.

• You probably won’t get a ticket if you’re caught using a hand-held cellphone before Feb. 1, when the government’s three-month education period ends.

But that doesn’t mean you can afford to take a slacker attitude. Police have the right to issue a summons to drivers flouting the new rules. That will land you before a justice of the peace, who can issue a $500 fine immediately.

• You can still talk on the phone when you are driving if you use a hands-free device such as an earpiece or headset with voice dialling or a unit that plugs into the car’s speaker system or is secured to the rearview mirror.

You may not dial while driving. The test is whether or not you’re holding the phone in your hand, said Villamere. If you’re dialling, you’re holding the phone.

• You can’t text behind the wheel, but you can use a GPS?system or an iPod.

Police advise you set your playlist or your destination before you begin your journey so you don’t have to touch the devices while travelling.

• CB radios used by commercial drivers will be phased out within three years, to allow time for the development of hands-free technology.

 
 
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