The move to ban mobile phone use while driving in Canada is slowly gaining ground as British Columbia has just signed legislature supporting this initiative that will take effect on January 1, 2010.
The new law prohibits drivers from reading/sending messages using their mobile phones and restricts making/answering calls to those paired with a hands-free device only. New and novice (Graduated Licensing Program) drivers, on the other hand, are completely banned from using a mobile phone while driving regardless if paired with a hands-free kit or not. Those who violate this law will be fined $167 beginning February 1st and will also receive 3 penalty points if caught using their phones to text or email. You can read more about it here.
Trace Acres of the BCAA has this advice for Canadians:
You should get in the habit of turning off your cellphone or other handheld electronic devices before getting in the car, or leaving them in a briefcase or in the trunk where it is out of reach and won’t tempt you. Then, when you reach your destination take a minute to check for messages. Also, change your voice message to say you’re currently unavailable or driving, and will return the call when it is safe to do so.
Ontario will be implementing their program beginning next week with penalties to be imposed beginning February of next year. One can only assume its just a matter of time before the whole of Canada is a little safer for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike.