The Ontario government’s last attempt at cracking down on distracted driving occurred in 2015, when stiffer penalties were introduced. Still, distracted driving remains a problem.
Just last month, Toronto police conducted a week-long campaign targeting drivers who are distracted by their cellphones. They dubbed the campaign, “That Text or Call Could End It All.”
New Bill Proposed
One Ontario MPP has gone further with the issue by introducing the Safe Texting Zones bill.
MPP Vic Fedeli’s private member bill was introduced in 2016 and proposed changes to the Highway Traffic Act. The amendment would designate texting zones along shoulder portions of the King’s Highway.
A “texting zone” is defined by the bill as a place in which drivers can safely pull over and stop or park in order to use a hand-held wireless communication device.
The proposed bill has garnered high praise by giants of the insurance industry. Aviva Canada applauded the move indicating that distracted driving is an even bigger problem than impaired driving.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada lauded the bill as well, saying they are pleased “to support this initiative”.
For his part, Fedeli says he introduced the bill because of the danger that distracted driving poses to Ontarians.
“When drivers take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds, car crash risk doubles,” Fedeli said, citing startling statistics by the Ontario Provincial Police.
The statistics also noted that distracted driving is a factor in between 30 to 50 per cent of Ontario traffic accidents.
It seems likely that the bill will pass after third reading in parliament this year. Fedeli told the legislature on March 9, that the bill had passed second reading last year with strong support from other MPP’s.