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Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act, 2008 SMARTRISK LEARNING SERIES January 29, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act, 2008 SMARTRISK LEARNING SERIES January 29, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act, 2008 SMARTRISK LEARNING SERIES January 29, 2009

2 2 Context Transport Canada estimates that driver distraction is a contributing factor in about 20 per cent of all collisions in this country. Research shows the most frequent distraction for drivers is the use of a hand-held wireless communication device. Two key studies (1997, 2005) have shown there is a four-fold increase in collision risk when drivers use cell phones.

3 3 Bill 118 – Inter-Ministerial Consultation Process MTO held inter-ministerial consultation sessions on the proposed items in Bill 118 that included: Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (including OPP) Ministry of the Attorney General Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Ministry of Health Promotion Ministry of Education

4 4 Bill 118 – Stakeholder Consultation Process MTO held several external stakeholder consultation sessions on the proposed items in Bill 118 including, but not limited to: Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police MADD Canada Insurance Bureau of Canada Canadian Automobile Association Association of Municipalities of Ontario Traffic Injury Research Foundation Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving Ontario Community Council on Impaired Driving Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association Ontario Trucking Association Ontario School Bus Association Ontario Motor Coach Association Driving School Association of Ontario Smartrisk Ontario Safety League Canada Safety Council Canadian Courier and Logistics Association Association of Canadian Car Rental Operators MTO is continuing to work with our road safety partners on these initiatives.

5 5 Status of the Bill  Bill 118 was introduced on October 28, 2008.  The Bill carried at second reading and was ordered referred to Standing Committee on General Government, which will hold public hearings the week of Feb. 9, 2009.

6 6 What would be prohibited? Driver would be prohibited from:  Use of hand-held wireless communications devices, such as cell phones, satellite phones and BlackBerries  Use of hand-held electronic entertainment devices, such as iPods or other portable MP3 players, PlayStation Portables, Game Boys  Texting and emailing while driving  Viewing display screens on devices unrelated to driving, such as laptop computers or DVD players

7 7 What would be allowed? Use of hands-free wireless communications devices with an earpiece or Bluetooth device Pressing the button of a hand-held device secured in an accessible place to activate hands-free mode for an incoming or outbound call GPS units mounted on a dashboard Calls to 911 Use by emergency services personnel (police, fire and ambulance) in the normal performance of their duties Logistical transportation tracking devices used for commercial vehicles Collision avoidance systems Instrument display screens that provide drivers with information regarding the operation of the vehicle Use of any of the restricted devices if the motor vehicle is pulled off the roadway and not impeding traffic or lawfully parked

8 8 Supporting Regulation  If the law is passed, it will require a supporting regulation to describe the exemptions. MTO will consult with Ontario ministries, federal ministries and key stakeholders on the contents of the regulation.  The supporting regulation will be developed, if the bill passes, and an outline of the regulation will be posted on the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade Regulatory Registry for public/stakeholder feedback.  In addition, more formal consultations with stakeholders (both within and external to the OPS) will be held.  Currently, MTO is reviewing requests for exemptions related to the use of hand-held wireless communication devices or display screens used for logistical purposes to dispatch, track and monitor commercial drivers; similar requests have been received on behalf of enforcement officers for some Ontario ministries and the federal government.

9 9 What are the penalties? General penalty in the HTA applies, with a fine range of $60 to $500. No demerit points. A driver may receive a ticket and could elect to plead guilty and pay a set fine. Drivers may also contest the charge in court. In more serious cases, police officers may lay a Careless Driving charge under the HTA or a Dangerous Driving charge under the Criminal Code of Canada.

10 10 When would the law take effect? If the law is passed, a supporting regulation is necessary to list and describe additional exemptions. It is likely the ban would take effect three or four months after passage of the bill. This will allow the general public enough time to prepare for the ban by converting their devices to hands-free use and allow the police to prepare for the enforcement of the new law.

11 11 What are other jurisdictions doing? About 50 countries world-wide have now banned the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, the Netherlands and Australia. Three Canadian provinces -- Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Nova Scotia -- ban hand-held cell phone use by all drivers. Manitoba introduced legislation in November 2008. In April 2007, Prince Edward Island became the first Canadian jurisdiction to ban only novice drivers from using hand-held cellular telephones, headphones, mp3 players or any other hand-held electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. Five U.S. states (California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Washington), the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands have banned hand-held cell phones use while driving. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia restrict cell phone use by novice drivers. In 17 states and the District of Columbia, school bus drivers are prohibited from all cell phone use when passengers are present, except for emergencies.

12 12 Other forms of distraction In addition to the Bill 118 proposal, existing legislation addresses distraction more broadly. Drivers who fail to pay attention behind the wheel can face severe consequences. They can be charged with : "Careless Driving" – if convicted, up to a $1,000 fine, six demerit points, possible jail time and driver licence suspension. "Dangerous Driving" – if convicted, up to a $2,000 fine and up to 5 years in jail. A proactive and effective communication strategy and strong support for enforcement will be key to the overall success of this initiative. We will use targeted public education to raise awareness about the dangers of driver distraction, including both hand-held and hands-free cell phone use, while driving.

13 13 Next steps Gather feedback as this proposal goes to public hearings and continues through the legislative process If the bill passes, conduct additional consultations to develop the supporting regulation that will describe specific exemptions. Regulation development would take approximately 3 to 4 months. During regulation development/amendment period, undertake a comprehensive public education campaign.

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