he Ontario government tabled legislation that will ban text messaging and emailing while driving and force motorists to use hands-free, voice-activated equipment when making calls on their cellphones.
Here's what is banned: cellphones, even at a stop light; dialing, BlackBerrys, texting, hand-held GPS.
"We know these new technologies have created some tremendous conveniences," Transportation Minister told reporters on Tuesday. "But we know something else. Deep down, we all know it is dangerous to use them while driving."
The OPP said it will start enforcing the new rules as soon as the government passes the legislation. If caught by police, drivers will face fines of at least $500 and demerit points.
"There are collisions attributable to it, and some fatalities. So it is a huge concern," said OPP Deputy Commissioner Larry Beechey.
"We've all had near-misses. I'm just as guilty as anyone else. Hands-free or not, talking on the phone is cognitively distracting," said Dr. Suzanne Strasberg of the Ontario Medical Association.
The Liberal government consulted police and the Insurance Bureau of Canada before drafting the legislation, Bradley said. He also brought a driving simulator to the news conference to demonstrate how distracting a cellphone can be.