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A little too much fun behind the wheel....

Recently, Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers LLP blogged about distracted driving and the 45,000 tickets issued between February 1, 2010 and February 1, 2011 for this offense. Well ladies and gentlemen, let's add another 2,500 charges from the week of February 14, 2011 to that number! In an article from wheels.ca, it was publicized that 2,500 charges were laid during a 7-day campaign to end distracted driving. This is compared to the 1,500 laid in the 2010 campaign. The tag line for this year's campaign was "Last call: Whatever you have to say can wait". What is there to say about this 114% increase in careless driving charges- yes, careless driving charges. People were so distracted by their nifty hand-held electronic devices that their driving was actually classified as CARELESS. 122 tickets were handed out to these careless drivers, each in the amount of $400 dollars. The remainder of the those charged for distracted driving, 2,226 people received a ticket in the amount of $155 each. Still a hefty fine. Some interesting statistics:
  • 102 people were charged for using a hand-held entertainment device such as an iPod
  • 114 people were charged for driving with a laptop, iPad or other similar device.
Whatever happened to the days of listening to the radio to hear about the latest news? They do make car adapters for iPods to be played in cars...Make a playlist for the car! How many Bluetooth devices are available for the car to assist with hands-free calling? Many vehicles come equipped with Bluetooth, even affordable cars like Ford and Mazda now have this option. Is it really worth a pricey ticket? Is it really worth risking the safety of those you share the road with, your passengers, and yourself? It is frightening to think that in addition to drunk drivers and drivers intoxicated and inebriated by various substances, we have to worry about so many potential distractions as technology advances. While there are safety options available, we should always make ourselves aware and pay attention.
Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers LLP's 5 Quick Safety Tips: 1. Lane Drifters: Watch for cars that are drifting in and out of lanes. If this is occurring you can be certain something is distracting that driver! 2. Ground View: Are the car's tires telling you something? What direction is the car going in? 3. Curb Huggers: Watch for cars that are too close to the curb lane and that are climbing the curb. This is probably a sign that something is distracting them! 4. Speed: Watch for random changes in acceleration and deceleration. 5. Disobeying Traffic Signals: If you notice that a driver is repeatedly disobeying traffic signals and stop signs, this should be a clear-cut sign that he or she is doing more than driving or is not paying attention.
Did you know that there are actually exemptions to the Distracted Driving Legislation? These can be found on the Ministry of Transportation's website. For those of you that are curious, exemptions are as follows:
  • The law does not apply to 9-1-1 calls
  • Drivers in vehicles pulled off on the roadway or lawfully parked (but the Ministry advises against stopping on a 400-series Highway unless in an emergency)
  • Pressing the button of a hand-held device to a) activate or turn off hands-free mode
  • If the device if placed securely or mounted to the vehicle when the button is being pressed the following items are acceptable: 1) display screens used for collision avoidance systems/displaying information about the vehicle's status, road information or weather information, 2) ignition interlock devices, 3) audio devices with screens that display still images (iPods)
  • The law does not apply to POLICE, PARAMEDICS, FIREFIGHTERS and enforcement officers using hand-held devices and viewing display screens when performing their duties
There is a 3-year exemption period ending January 1, 2013.
This applies to commercial drivers in transport-related industries such as school buses, taxis, couriers and public service workers namely transit and highway maintenance workers who rely on the use of certain types of wireless technologies in the performance of their duties. This exemption is meant to help these businesses stay competitive and to allow for improvements in technology. Exemptions are made until January 1, 2013 for hand-held two-way radios for commercial purposes including mobile and CB radios as well as for amateur radio operators assisting emergency responders in situations such as severe storms and blackouts.
As always, Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers LLP encourages safe, distraction-free driving and encourages you to know your rights as a pedestrian, cyclist, and motorist. Call or e-mail us for a free initial consultation. 49 years of trusted experience. We're here for you. We welcome your comments!

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