Newfoundland & Labrador were the first to ban cellphone use while driving in 1993… soon after Quebec, Nova Scotia and Ontario followed. On January 1st, 2010 a couple more provinces join the growing list: Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
The ban officially goes into effect in a few hours but as usual the police will give a 1-month “grace period” to get used to the new law. In B.C during the grace period they have opted to give out educational brochures rather than actual warning tickets like Ontario did. However, in B.C. starting February 1st if you’re caught disobeying the law you’ll be slapped with a $167 fine. In addition if you’re a novice driver or have a learner’s licences you’ll get dinged three penalty points off your record.
Over in Saskatchewan drivers are also banned from talking, texting or using their email while driving. If you’re caught doing this without the use of a Bluetooth hands-free device to you’ll be charged $280 and receive 4 demerit points on their licence.
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Victoria police Chief Jamie Graham said “Ninety per cent of the public wants a cellphone ban, but they don’t think it applies to them. As we develop strategies for prevention, we have to think of how we’re going to get through to people like that. It’s about cognitive brain functioning. A lot of people don’t understand that this [practice] is dangerous — the human brain can only process so much.”
Saskatchewan cabinet minister June Draude stated “The best way to handle any call is to safely pull over on the side of the road to answer your phone or let voice-mail pick it up”.
Will you be obeying the new laws?