BY CALLIE WRIGGLESWORTH
Cellphones have quickly become a prized possession, and for most people, considered a necessity.
It is not often that you see a person walking down the street, sitting in a waiting room or in line at the grocery store without seeing them scrolling through their phone or taking calls. It is one of the main accessories that many won’t leave their house without. They appear to be attached to everyone’s hands.
People have mastered the technique of texting while participating in other tasks, including texting while having a conversation, weaving through crowded hallways and eating at the dinner table. This issue is especially dangerous when texting while driving. Though people think they can focus on the road and their surroundings, they cannot be fully aware while they are in “another world” talking with their friend about the party they will attend on Friday.
As of Sept. 27, it is now illegal in Ontario to be holding any wireless device while operating a vehicle. This includes hand-held GPS units, MP3s and mobile phones. The only time a driver is permitted to touch a device is to push a single button to activate or deactivate a hands-free function.
According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, using a cellphone while driving is a key factor in accidents. The ministry states, “Drivers who use cellphones are four times more likely to be in a collision than a driver who is focused on the road.”
The Ontario Provincial Police website states, “Distracted driving is cited as a causal factor in 30 to 50 per cent of traffic collisions in Ontario, but is probably much higher due to under-reporting.”
People argue that there is no difference between texting while driving and drinking a coffee or having a cigarette. In fact, there is a massive difference. When people text they are not just using their hands, they are using their brain too.
So the government stepped in, making it illegal to not only make a phone call or send a text, but to touch a phone. Hopefully this will prevent many more unnecessary collisions and people will be less tempted to use their devices.
Drivers caught breaking this law could face up to $500 in charges.
Citizens of Ontario should take this matter more seriously, and realize that this new law is there to benefit them.