Alberta's distracted driving legislation — believed to be the most comprehensive in the country — received final reading at the provincial legislature in Edmonton Wednesday.
Bill 16 not only bars people from phoning, texting or emailing while driving, it also prohibits actions such as reading, grooming or writing while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
But the legislation does permit the use of hands-free phones. Emergency officials including police officers, firefighters and paramedics are exempt from the law while on the job.
The law was proposed in 2008 by the Progressive Conservative MLA for Calgary-Hays, Art Johnston, a former police officer.
"It was a hand-held cellphone ban that I brought in," Johnston said. "I realized we needed much more. But in two and half years, we've come so far. It's the most comprehensive bill in Canada."
The proposed fine for those who run afoul of the new law is $172 with no demerit points. Johnston expects the law will come into effect by June 2011 after the province launches a public education program.