Ontario passes law to ban hand-held devices while driving

A new law that bans using hand-held devices to talk, email, or send text messages while behind the wheel has been passed by the Ontario legislature.

A new law that bans using hand-held devices to talk, email, or send text messages while behind the wheel has been passed by the Ontario legislature.

The new rules, which don't come into effect immediately, include a fine of up to $500 as the province joins other jurisdictions in cracking down on drivers using the devices.

The law doesn't affect the use of hands-free devices such as Bluetooths or using cellphones for 911 calls, but it does include portable video games, MP3 players and DVD players.

Global positioning systems will be allowed, as long as they're properly secured to the dashboard.

There are no demerit points attached to the bill, unlike in other provinces.  But drivers who place others at risk by using one of the banned devices can also be charged under existing careless driving laws.

Ontario is the fourth province to enact such a ban, following Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Nova Scotia.