Ontario is considering placing signs along the highway to notify drivers of areas where it is safe to pull off the highway to send a text or use their cell phone.
The idea was presented in Bill 190 by private member Progressive Conservative Vic Fedeli in an effort to create safe texting zones and combat the growing trend of texting and driving.
All three parties have voted in favour of a second reading of the legislation that would notify drivers of nearly 185 existing areas along the highway where they can safely pull off the road to use their cell phone. Because the idea would utilize current rest stops, transit stations and commuter parking lots, no new infrastructure would be required to implement the plan.
Fedeli stated that he got the idea while driving through New York and Pennsylvania where he saw safe texting zones in action.
Although private member’s bills are rarely passed into law, Fedeli is confident his bill will be passed or adopted by the Liberal government because of the strong support that has been demonstrated from all sides of the legislature.
Fines are Not Enough
According to Ontario Provincial Police, distracted driving was the leading cause of car accident deaths for the last three consecutive years. Driver distraction led to 69 deaths in 2015.
The increase comes despite a 2009 ban on the use of hand-held devices while driving. Last fall, Ontario increased the penalties for distracted drivers by raising the fine to $490 and allowing a judge to further increase that fine to $1,000.
Fedeli, however, believes that fines are not enough to combat the growing trend of texting and driving. He believes safe texting zones could help save lives by not only providing a safe place to text, but by also educating motorists about the dangers of texting and driving. He said the signs provide a clear message that there is no longer an excuse for drivers to endanger themselves and other motorists by texting and driving.
The bill has garnered wide-spread support from police, the Canadian Automobile Association, The Ontario Safety League for the Safe Texting Zones Act and insurance companies.
The car accident lawyers at Greg Monforton & Partners have seen firsthand the devastating effects texting and driving can have. That is why we are committed to helping those who have been injured in an accident with a distracted driver recover the maximum amount of compensation they are entitled.