This week the use of hand-held cellphones, Blackberries, other PDAs, iPods and other MP3 players, and handheld GPS systems while driving became illegal in Ontario, where I live and work. Now only hands-free devices can be used in the new "distracted driving" law.
Of course, I am thrilled. I’ve been blogging about this road safety issue since early 2007. This legislation is long over due; but I’m not as happy as I could be.
On a drive I made this week on Highway QEW, I saw no one holding a cellphone (wow, first time in a long time) BUT I saw several cars pulled over on the side of a four-lane, super-busy highway. These were not empty cars pulled over; they were occupied by drivers chatting on their hand-held phones!!
I don’t think this is what the government had in mind when they passed the distracted-driving law.
Imagine the danger of being a "sitting duck" as cars and trucks whizz past you at upwards of 120 km an hour, just inches away from your perch on the narrow shoulder of the highway. It’s not as if everyone’s always driving between the lines, especially with the amount of lane changing that happens.
A motorist preoccupied with his phone conversation, pulled over in a hazardous position that practically obstructs moving traffic – THAT’S deemed by some people as an improvement in safety!? I think it’s a new bad habit.
What do you think? I want to know if you’ve seen this unsafe behaviour on the road in Ontario too this week. Leave your comments below.