Cell Phone Ban While Driving
As of January 1 this year in British Columbia it’s a mass return to listening to our radio stations in our cars. Our provincial government passed a law prohibiting the use of hand-held devices while driving. That’s right, we now have our own cell phone ban.
It turns out though that all of us in BC will effectively have a one-month grace period until police officers issue tickets. I suppose the one-month grace period is designed to give us 30 days to put into practice the art of driving without being on the phone.
In case you’re wondering, the law in BC applies to hand-held devices, not hands-free devices. This mean you can drive and talk as long as the device you’re talking into is not in your hand.
Don’t take this law lightly. It’s easy for officers to spot hand-held use and fine is an expensive $167. Surely a chat while you drive is not worth $167. If you have a learners or a novice licence, you’re really stuck without a chatting option. The new law mandates that both hand-held and hands-free devices are denied to you.
For some of you who don’t understand why our government would pass a law, consider looking into some of the statistics about cell phone use and texting while driving. The numbers are pretty staggering; many, many, many people have been maimed, killed, and badly hurt in horrific car accidents caused by distracted drivers using their cell phones.
After watching other jurisdictions pass similar laws, our BC government decided to follow suit in Fall 2009, which is when our hand-held-device-while-driving-law was passed. Our culture of instant communication and connection will make it difficult for people (I suspect) to simply let their cell phones ring to voice mail while driving. We like answering the phone; we expect people to be available.
It seems to me the timing of this new law is good (although if it could have prevented car accidents in the past it’s too bad it took this long) because of the prevalence of internet on our phones. Not only do we talk on our phones, we can practically do anything digital on our phones.