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Ontario police blitz targets drivers distracted by mobile devices

Drivers had better keep their eyes on the roads today – and off their mobile devices – because the O.P.P. has begun a safety blitz to crack down on distracted drivers.

Officers are ramping up their efforts to prevent drivers from texting or eating behind the wheel.

Police say 35 people died and more than 1,000 were injured in collisions last year where the driver was not paying attention.

It is also expensive – if you are caught chatting on a cellphone, the ticket is $155.

Other kinds of distracted driving, such as eating or searching for something in the car, can earn a careless driving charge.

Those fines range from $400 to $2,000 and can also come with a licence suspension and even six months of jail time.

Get used to the extra attention – the police blitz is the first of four campaigns that will target distracted driving over the next 12 months.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario/ontario-police-blitz-targets-drivers-distracted-by-mobile-devices/article2023263/

P.S. And remember that radar detectors are illegal and it will cost you dearly if you are caught.

P.P.S. This is not a Lexus per se matter, nevertheless I posted the above for the benefit of Americans crossing into Ontario.

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Soooo .... what's your solution or do you think one is needed? Personally, I'm getting tired of getting hit by people talking on cell phones and particularly at the inconvenience of getting cars fixed. I had a close call just a couple of weeks ago when I stopped for a red light and the cell phone user behind me didn't plan to -- lucky that the lane next to me was open for the guy to serve into. I haven't got hit by a "texter" (yet) but I'm noticing more and more people engrosed in texting and not moving their cars when traffic lights turn green.

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Soooo .... what's your solution or do you think one is needed? Personally, I'm getting tired of getting hit by people talking on cell phones and particularly at the inconvenience of getting cars fixed. I had a close call just a couple of weeks ago when I stopped for a red light and the cell phone user behind me didn't plan to -- lucky that the lane next to me was open for the guy to serve into. I haven't got hit by a "texter" (yet) but I'm noticing more and more people engrosed in texting and not moving their cars when traffic lights turn green.

I do make a difference between talking on the phone/texting and eating. Activities that are a sustained distraction, such as talking/texting should not occured while driving. Too much attention is taken away from the main job of driving. But honestly, a guy alone in a car on the highway can't even have a bite while driving??? It requires a lot less attention to just shove food in your mouth compared to talking on the phone. That's just my opinion.

Moreover, 35 dead/year in a province of more than 6 million isn't a large number. I can see justification for the talking/texting, but not for simply eating or looking around in your car. Every single day in America more than 150 people die in car accidents due to all kinds of reasons. No reason to make life impossible for those of us who can use one hand to shove food in the mouth while keeping the other hand on the steering wheel.

And yes, I too am concerned by other drivers using electronic devices while driving. In particular when they are near me on the road.

P.S. I know there is a typo in the title of the thread, but it appears impossible to fix. "fascist"

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I'm sure you didn't mean it to sound this way, but to the women who gave birth to those 35 people that died in those car crashes, I bet it was a VERY big deal. Not to mention their husbands and wives and children.

On road trips I'll eat a a Quarter Pounder behind the wheel. Maybe I shouldn't. But one thing I never do is talk or text while driving. I get petrified when I see someone doing either close to me because I know there is no way they are paying any attention to me. The worst was last week when I saw a women with a child in the car, talking on the phone, smoking, and drinking a Starbucks coffee. Yes, all at the same time! I was petrified, but impressed.

Paul

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I wasn't minimizing the meaningfulness and tragedy of the 35 dead, but I tried to put in into perspective. It seems that the way things are going in Ontario, nobody will have any more rights so that everyone can live???? I would like to live where I will have more freedom. I am a human being after all.

I fully agree that talking on the phone, as well as texting are activities that take too much attention away from the driver. At one point I did both and then decided that no email, or text message is worth an accident. So I keep the phone off and in my briefcase. I do not even use hands-free anymore. I found it makes driving a lot more relaxing.

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I've noticed this new style of walking, especially in airports it seems. And my wife is guilty of this. I call it "Heads Down" walking. I've been bumped more than once in airports by people walking along while they're looking down at there smart phone reading/texting and trying to chew gum at the same time. It must be that whatever their reading is way more interesting than knocking over somebody as their walking around half blind.

God, do I sound like an old curmudgeon or what.

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No actually, I remember recently hearing/reading about people who are killed/injured by walking/crossing streets while paying attention/reading their electronic gadgets.

Sometimes the 'State' goes too far in its attempt at making things 'better' for the populace.

Those devices are extremely addictive though. That's why I don't have one. I enjoy my freedom (from being reached anytime, anywhere about anything). I have a basic cell phone with Net10 and I do not let it control my life.

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Other kinds of distracted driving, such as eating or searching for something in the car, can earn a careless driving charge.

Those fines range from $400 to $2,000 and can also come with a licence suspension and even six months of jail time.

Get used to the extra attention – the police blitz is the first of four campaigns that will target distracted driving over the next 12 months.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario/ontario-police-blitz-targets-drivers-distracted-by-mobile-devices/article2023263/

Your link was to a news article which may have sensationalized the issue. Do you have a link to the text of the statute?

"Careless driving" has long been a punishable offense whether it is caused by eating, searching for stuff or just general inattention, wandering across lanes, driving erratically, etc., etc. Are you certain that just eating in a car is automatically a fine-able offense or does one also have to be acting stupid?

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A quick search on this topic seems to indicate that eating while driving will result in a careless driving charge.

Ontario law prohibits motorists from using handheld devices such as cell phones while they drive. Using a cell phone or device capable of texting while driving can result in a fine of $155 under Section 78.1 of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA).

Watching an entertainment device can result in a fine of $110 under Section 78 of the HTA. Other forms of distracted driving can result in a charge of Careless Driving with fines ranging from $400 to $2,000, a possible licence suspension of up to two years and/or a jail term of not more than six months.

http://www.680news.com/news/national/article/226585--opp-launches-week-long-education-enforcement-blitz

Nearly 200 drivers charged on first day of distracted driving blitz

Provincial police were kept busy on the first day of the force’s distracted driving campaign.

OPP officers issued 193 charges under the distracted driving legislation yesterday, and another five careless driving charges.

Police say “it’s a clear message to police and motorists that there is a lot more work to be done.”

This week’s OPP campaign is targeting things like talking on a cellphone, eating food and other actions that take a driver’s attention off the road.

If a motorist is caught chatting on a cellphone, the ticket is $155.

Other kinds of distracted driving, such as eating or searching for something in the car, can earn a careless driving charge.

Those fines range from $400 to $2,000 and can also come with a licence suspension and even six months of jail time.

The police blitz is the first of four campaigns that will target distracted driving over the next 12 months.

http://www.thestar.com/wheels/article/992709--nearly-200-drivers-charged-on-first-day-of-distracted-driving-blitz?bn=1

OPP clamps down on distracted driving

A Consumer Reports survey found that nearly one in three drivers under 30 had recently been texting behind the wheel. March 7, 2011.

TORONTO — Ontario Provincial Police will be ramping up their efforts to prevent drivers from texting or eating at the wheel this week.

On Monday, the force is launching a week-long safety blitz that will target distracted drivers.

Provincial police say 35 people died last year in collisions where the driver was inattentive, and more than 1,000 were injured.

Distracted driving is believed to have caused almost 8,000 accidents on roads patrolled by the OPP in 2010.

The blitz is the first of four enforcement campaigns that will target distracted driving over the next 12 months.

Under Ontario law, using a cellphone while driving can result in a fine of $155. And other kinds of distracted driving, like eating or searching for something in the car, can earn a careless driving charge.

"We see this time and time again; people putting on makeup while driving and all of a sudden traffic comes to a halt and they slam into the back of someone," said Sgt. Dave Woodford. "That's careless driving."

Out of car distractions, like gazing out at the window when driving by an accident, can also create dangerous situations on our roads, Woodford said.

Careless drivers can receive fines ranging from $400 to $2,000, as well as possible license suspension and even six months of jail time.

http://ottawa.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110515/OTT_opp_sweep_110515/20110515/?hub=OttawaHome

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I just recently learned that eating behind the wheel is also illegal here in my state as well. I'm guilty of this... every so often i'll have a McDonald's fry (or two) while driving, just put the bag in my lap and feel around and shove my face! :geek:

The texting issue is very real however... Some of my friends are REALLY bad. They'll legitimately text conversations for minutes at a time while driving at or above the speed limit, it's very scary. I'll admit i'll read a quick text, or text a quick "yes" or "no", but i'll always wait for a lull in traffic. But then there are others that just don't use ANY common sense...

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I just recently learned that eating behind the wheel is also illegal here in my state as well. I'm guilty of this... every so often i'll have a McDonald's fry (or two) while driving, just put the bag in my lap and feel around and shove my face! :geek:

The texting issue is very real however... Some of my friends are REALLY bad. They'll legitimately text conversations for minutes at a time while driving at or above the speed limit, it's very scary. I'll admit i'll read a quick text, or text a quick "yes" or "no", but i'll always wait for a lull in traffic. But then there are others that just don't use ANY common sense...

What is the possible punishment for eating while driving in your area?

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More proof that the Fascist State of Ontario is run by lunatics:

Is a person's life worth $500? Highway Traffic Act says yes

For $500, you can buy a pretty nice 32-inch flat screen television.

It’s also the price you’ll pay for killing a pedestrian in Ontario if you’re charged with failing to yield under the Highway Traffic Act.

You won’t go to jail. You won’t even lose your driving licence.

“It blows my mind,” said Corry Kuipers, whose sister Tina, 65, was killed on April 13, 2010 when she was run over by a truck as she tried to cross Queen St. in Brampton. The driver of the truck pleaded guilty to failing to yield and was fined just $500.

In Kuipers’ death, Obarasiagbon Umanmwen, 39, of Brampton was fined $500 last Thursday after his paralegal, Mark Reynolds, entered a plea of failing to yield on his behalf. The truck driver didn’t have to appear in court. Reynolds told the court his client will forever be troubled by his actions and would also pay a $500 charitable donation.

The following day, Alsea Wilson, 32, of Toronto, was also fined $500 after she pleaded to failing to yield to a pedestrian. Her BMW struck Diana Rowdon, 88, of Mississauga on Oct. 2, 2010. Rowdon died in hospital from a brain injury the next day.

In both deadly traffic mishaps, the drivers were looking left — making sure there was no oncoming traffic — when they turned right and tragically ended the lives of two complete strangers.

http://www.thestar.com/news/article/992993--is-a-person-s-life-worth-500-highway-traffic-act-says-yes?bn=1

And btw, for those who do not know, in Ontario a careless driving charge against you is a VERY, VERY serious charge. It is a criminal offence. Just like murder, rape or theft. You will need to go in front of a judge. Your insurance will increase by at least 100% and for years to come. You will pay up to $2,000 in fine. You can lose your licence and even go to jail. Imagine getting all that because you took a bite of a burger while driving!!!???

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All I'm seeing in this thread is hearsay and links to media articles. Let's have some links to statutes on state and provincial websites that show that eating while driving is in itself illegal. I'm a "fact oriented" person.

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I suggest you contact the Ontario Provincial Police directly and ask them. I don't know if this number works from America, 1-888-310-1122. If not, google them and you should be able to speak with them directly. Good luck in your quest.

It's not my quest although I do have family in Ontario and occasionally drive there.

Yes, maybe I'll see if Ontario statutes are on the Internet.

Calling Ontario a "Fascist State" is just weird. Having a bad day, eh?

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Ontario statutes including those related to driving can be read at http://www.search.e-laws.gov.on.ca

The Ontario Careless Driving statue is general as in most jurisdictions and carries no mention of food:

"Every person is guilty of the offence of driving carelessly who drives a vehicle or street car on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $400 and not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition his or her licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than two years. 2009, c. 5, s. 41."

I found no mention of food in any Ontario statute related to driving -- but look for yourself.

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Ontario statutes including those related to driving can be read at http://www.search.e-laws.gov.on.ca

The Ontario Careless Driving statue is general as in most jurisdictions and carries no mention of food:

"Every person is guilty of the offence of driving carelessly who drives a vehicle or street car on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $400 and not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition his or her licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than two years. 2009, c. 5, s. 41."

I found no mention of food in any Ontario statute related to driving -- but look for yourself.

I just called the Ontario Provincial Police and asked them. Here's how the conversation went:

ME: I'm calling in regards to the careless driving charge, in order to get some clarifications.

OPP: Yes we have a campaign going on right now.

ME: Let's say I drink a coffee or from a bottle of water while I'm driving and an OPP officer sees me, can he charge me with careless driving?

OPP: Yes, absolutely. Anything that will distract you.

ME: Let's say I go McDonald's and I start eating my burger while I'm on my way home?

OPP: Yes you will be charged.

ME: Let's say I leave the same McDonald's and I am at a red light, can I eat while the car is not moving at a red light?

OPP: Let me check - put me on hold for about a minute - yes that will be fine as long as you have one hand on the wheel.

I hope it answers your question.

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RX350,

What exactly is your definition of a fascist state? It's not that I don't think there is some zealousness involved here, but what do you mean by your label?

Paul

Well, I do not wish to start a war of any kind, but what about saying an 'authoritarian form of government', where individuality and personal rights and freedom are taken away.

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While I agree that eating with one hand on the wheel strikes me as a little too weird, I don't think that texting and talking on the cell constitutes Ontario as a Fascist state.(I've never been there, don't know anyone there: for the purpose of full disclosure).

Even in a democracy such as the US, laws limit our freedoms and actions. i.e. speed limits, seat belts, yelling fire in a theater, slander, assault, etc. You and your fellow neighbors surely have the right to petition and vote to repeal or modify what laws you feel are unjust or just plain stupid. But a Fascist state, thats too much.

Paul

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I just called the Ontario Provincial Police and asked them. Here's how the conversation went:

ME: I'm calling in regards to the careless driving charge, in order to get some clarifications.

OPP: Yes we have a campaign going on right now.

ME: Let's say I drink a coffee or from a bottle of water while I'm driving and an OPP officer sees me, can he charge me with careless driving?

OPP: Yes, absolutely. Anything that will distract you.

ME: Let's say I go McDonald's and I start eating my burger while I'm on my way home?

OPP: Yes you will be charged.

ME: Let's say I leave the same McDonald's and I am at a red light, can I eat while the car is not moving at a red light?

OPP: Let me check - put me on hold for about a minute - yes that will be fine as long as you have one hand on the wheel.

I hope it answers your question.

Not really. Maybe you could conference me in next time you call them. :whistles:

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I just called the Ontario Provincial Police and asked them. Here's how the conversation went:

ME: I'm calling in regards to the careless driving charge, in order to get some clarifications.

OPP: Yes we have a campaign going on right now.

ME: Let's say I drink a coffee or from a bottle of water while I'm driving and an OPP officer sees me, can he charge me with careless driving?

OPP: Yes, absolutely. Anything that will distract you.

ME: Let's say I go McDonald's and I start eating my burger while I'm on my way home?

OPP: Yes you will be charged.

ME: Let's say I leave the same McDonald's and I am at a red light, can I eat while the car is not moving at a red light?

OPP: Let me check - put me on hold for about a minute - yes that will be fine as long as you have one hand on the wheel.

I hope it answers your question.

Not really. Maybe you could conference me in next time you call them. :whistles:

I don't plan on calling them again, instead I'll be getting tinted windows in all my cars... :pirate:

P.S. I wonder if peeing in a coffee cup while doing 60mph on cruise control at 2 am counts as careless driving...

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Here is a real life example where a distracted driver killed a person in Michigan and only got 30 days for the crime.

Does this make Michigan a fascist state?

http://autos.aol.com/article/death-by-texting-michigan-man-gets-just-30-days-for-killing-gra/?icid=main%7Chtmlws-main-w%7Cdl3%7Csec1_lnk3%7C214006

Paul

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Here is a real life example where a distracted driver killed a person in Michigan and only got 30 days for the crime.

Does this make Michigan a fascist state?

http://autos.aol.com/article/death-by-texting-michigan-man-gets-just-30-days-for-killing-gra/?icid=main%7Chtmlws-main-w%7Cdl3%7Csec1_lnk3%7C214006

Paul

I think you are misunderstanding me. I fully agree that someone who is driving a car should not use a phone (even hands-free), nor a device to send/receive email/txt msg. The problem is that those two activities create a sustained distraction for the driver. The longer one is distracted, the higher the probability of an accident.

I make a difference between shoving food in your mouth with one hand while your attention is on driving and using a device to communicate. I have used a phone (not hands-free) and sent hundreds of txt msgs for just over a year. I wasn't happy to do it, but others were expecting an answer from me. But after a year, I decided it was just too dangerous. Even hands-free, I'm not interested to carry a conversation/communicate while I drive. So now I always leave the phone OFF and in my briefcase. I can receive 50 msgs while I drive, I will only find out once I'm done driving and got out of the car. Like I said before, no email/txt msg is worth an accident.

Eating while driving, on the other hand, is something I can do with my eyes closed (just kidding). For me anyway, eating simple food while driving doesn't require much attention. I've done it countless number of times only on the highway/interstate as it helps to keep me awake during long (8+ hours) drive. I do not consume caffeine.

The point is ANY distractions while driving is not good, be it eating, talking on the phone or looking at the beautiful women walking on the sidewalk. But it happens. It is just a question of managing one's distraction so that it doesn't endanger someone's else life.

And I disagree with the penalties associated with eating while driving in the fascist state of Ontario. Just my 2 cents.

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