4 Drivers, 4 Devices, 4 Safer Ways To Drive Under Ontario's New Distracted Driver Law
As of October 26, 2009, the use of hand-held communication or entertainment devices while driving will no longer be permitted by Ontario law.
The following four examples show how drivers can make a few simple changes to their everyday routine in order to safely comply with the new law. In all situations, drivers are reminded that driving safely is priority one.
As a university student, Mark is always on the road: traveling from home to school and hooking up with friends after class. Mark frequently uses his time behind the wheel to send text messages to friends and family.
Under Ontario's new law, Mark will no longer be allowed to type phone numbers or text messages into his hand-held device. Mark's first priority should be focusing on the driving task. If he needs to talk with friends, he could use an earpiece to talk with his friends in a hands-free manner. While Mark won't be able to dial his friends' numbers using his fingers, he may press a button on the base of the device to activate the "hands-free mode", and then use the voice dialing function to place calls.
Mark can only send text messages if he is safely pulled off the road and is stationary or is lawfully parked.
Debra, Marketing Manager
Whenever Debra's on the road, she's on her smart phone: making the most of her long commute to work by responding to important emails as she drives.
Under Ontario's new law, Debra won't be able to send emails unless she does so in a hands-free manner. Reading emails from her smart phone's display screen will also be prohibited. Debra's first priority should be focusing on the driving task. If she needs to send and receive emails, she can do so in a 'hands-free mode' that will allow her to dictate and send emails by voice, and have the emails she receives read back to her by the device.
Faisal, Weekend Traveler
Faisal never leaves home without his hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) device. Every weekend, Faisal plots his travel destinations on the device before he leaves home, but often picks up the device to make adjustments as he drives.
He will no longer be permitted to make adjustments on the GPS device while driving, under Ontario's new law. Faisal's first priority should be to focus on the road. He can only continue to use his GPS device while driving if he attaches it securely to his dashboard to verify his location. To drive as safely as possible, Faisal should use the device's voice command function to minimize the need to look at the GPS display screen.
Jackie always listens to her MP3 player in the car, and frequently picks up the device to find her favorite driving songs.
Under Ontario's new law, Jackie can no longer use the MP3 player with her hands. Her first priority should be to focus on the road. However, Jackie could use the device if it is plugged into her car's sound system. To use the device in a hands-free manner, Jackie should select her play list before she leaves home. This way, she will be able to push a single button to activate the device while staying focused on the road.