First, Newfoundland and Labrador did it, followed by both Nova Scotia and Quebec. The trend to ban cell phones and hand-held devices while driving continues to make its move westward in the fall of 2009. Ontario's Bill 118 prohibits taking or making calls while driving (along with using other hand-held or entertainment devices).

What will be banned?

According to Ontario's Bill 118, the following is not allowed unless the vehicle is pulled off the roadway (not impeding traffic) or is legally parked:

  • Using hand-held wireless communications devices such as cell phones and smartphones
  • Using hand-held electronic entertainment devices such as iPods, MP3 players or portable games
  • Texting and emailing
The Bill also prohibits display screens if they are visible to the driver and are unrelated to the driving task (like DVD players and laptops).

What will be allowed?

Like everything else, there are a few exceptions. For example:

  • Calls to 9-1-1
  • Using hands-free wireless communications devices with an earpiece or Bluetooth device
  • The use of hand-held devices by emergency services personnel in the course of the normal work duties
  • Viewing display screens of

    • devices that provide GPS information in a hands-free mode
    • collision avoidance systems
    • an instrument, gauge or system used to provide information regarding the status of the motor vehicle's various systems
    • logistical transportation tracking devices used for commericial vehicles

What does it mean?

When Bill 118 comes into effect, drivers who text, type, email, dial or chat using a hand-held device could face a fine of up to $500.

Make note however, that hands-free devices haven't escaped notice. If while using a hands-free device you place others at risk, you can be charged with careless driving and face fines of up to $1,000 and get six demerit points. A driver can also receive possible jail time and in some cases a licence suspsension of up to two years.

Still think taking that call is worth it?

The scenario: With the help of's auto insurance quote comparison service, we can create a scenario to see how a driver's car insurance rate might be affected.

Let's say you're a 35-year old driver in Toronto cruising around in your 2-year old Toyota Corolla when you're pulled over by the police for chatting on the phone. Up until now, your driving record has been spotless, but with your upcoming auto insurance renewal you want to know what you might be in for. So you enter your driving details into the auto insurance quote comparison service with what will presumably be considered a "minor" ticket (although the $500 fine is anything but minor to your bank account.) Then you modify your information to include your most accurate and up-to-date information which unfortunately now includes a ticket.

The results part I: Most of the quotes you obtained after including your new ticket are now higher than those great rates you saw from the 11 insurance companies that provided you a quote the first time around. In fact, the lowest quote with the ticket is 6.1 per cent higher than the lowest one you got with your previously spotless record!

Ouch. That's one expensive phone call.

Now, let's see what happens if you're charged and convicted with careless driving while using your hands-free device because it's determined that you placed others at risk.

The results part II: Compared to your once clean driving record, the best quote you get is now 383 per cent higher. Surely, no phone call is worth this price tag.

Don't be a "chatty Cathy"

As your driving instructor used to say, keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. Of course nowadays they might add, "and let it go to your voicemail".

Give the auto insurance quote comparison service a try to see how much a phone call might end up costing you. Visit today to compare. It's free, quick and anonymous, and allows everyone to see how much their actions might cost.

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