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Monday, January 4, 2010

new cell phone law for bc strikes Jan 1st

It's finally here. It's also about time. Do I have a cell phone? Yes I do. So does DH. Do we use them while driving? Absolutely not! And it's one of my biggest pet peeves to see someone on their phone while driving their vehicle.

Driving is difficult enough without adding further distractions.  It's always apparently clear -- do not eat while driving -- do not put on your make-up while driving -- do not read the newspaper (this one kills me) while driving.  So what -- on God's green earth makes ppl think texting, dialing and talking on cell phones or other pda devices would be safe when you should be concentrating on the road before you?

January 1st the new (no hand held cell phone) law came into effect.  Abbotsford police are going to spend the first month (the grace period) educating people instead of enforcing the law, to give others the warning that driving and talking on your phone or use of other hand held devices while operating your vehicle carries a hefty fine.

So what is the fine?

Well it's not high enough if you ask me.  Not when you consider that many accidents this past year in BC were with young drivers ages (16-24) while talking on the phone.

It's not high enough when you consider that 117 deaths and 1400 hospitalizations occurred in 2009 due to drivers using their phones when they should have been paying attention to the road!

The fine starting February 1st (if caught) using any form of hand held device (ipod touch, nanos, game systems and cell phones) will be $167 and three points on your license -- (OUCH!)

There has been a flock of people rushing out to buy hands free devices (like blue-tooth) head seats and car adapters so they won't get caught while still needing their phones.  Many people say they will abide by the new law, while others state they will continue to text and talk while driving, according to the Abbey News.

This new legislation concerns ICBC toward those buying hands free devices as they want drivers to be more cautious and pay attention to the road, instead of talking while driving.  The legislation was passed to raise awareness to the increase in accidents due to cell phone usage.

New drivers under the graduating drivers programs are forbidden to use any devices while driving whether they are hands or not.  I'm all for this law and like I said the fine should be higher.  We almost got hit by a driving instructor's student because she was talking on the phone while supposedly teaching a young man to drive.  Stupid idiot!

So be safe.  Don't talk and drive will be the new campaign, along with the common sense factors like drinking or driving under the influence.  To date no fines have been handed out yet.  The grace period ends January 30th, 2010 so drivers BEWARE!



Peter William Lount on January 5, 2010 at 11:32 AM said...

This cell phone ban really isn’t about making the roads any safer. It’s really just about ICBC having an easier time to prosecute people so that they don’t have to do any actual hard work of proving driver distraction in each case as they did last week.

Now ICBC can just magically say that you were distracted without having to actually prove it in your case. That makes their job so much easier that it’s not funny. As a bonus ICBC won’t have to pay for your claim since you’re guilty of a crime by default if you were using a device in your car.

One reason that this law is unconstitutional is that in Canada we have the right to be presumed innocent until we are proven guilty (“11(d) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty …”). This cell phone ban attempts to by pass this important constitutional protection and place the burden upon us saying that we are guilty of diminished capacity just because we were using a cell phone in our hands rather than in a speaker mode. In effect we’ll have to prove that were are not guilty of the assumed crime of diminished capacity or loss of focus or however they magically word it in sly tongued legalese.

If someone is driving while not paying attention to the road conditions then they might be a road hazard however to blanket make us all criminals guilty of an offense for using a cell phone while driving is a dangerous sign of a totalitarian mentality.

My comment continues here:

JP Shaw on January 6, 2010 at 10:26 AM said...

Hi Peter, thanks for your comments and for providing a different opinion on the nature of this legislation. However, I disagree. Not with the information you provided on our rights. But it's not our rights that are the issue, our rights have been violated by the law for thousands of years. I agree with the law simply because although it may not make sense to you or others that your rights are being violated; this law is being put into place to save lives and for you to assume it won't is ridiculous!

Does the drinking and driving law stop others from doing it and putting other peoples lives at risk? No it doesn't but the law is there to raise awareness to the ramifications if you choose to break the law and thus be punishable if you are found at fault doing so. That is the goal here.

If ICBC had their way they wouldn't allow us to breathe while driving because it could be considered a distraction lol. As far as them paying out claims that is false information you provided as I spoke to a rep at ICBC since my husband is a brain injury survivor and claims will still be investigated and put forth in the same manner all claims are. Get a good lawyer if you are caught and if found at fault or not claims will still be paid. So that isn't really an issue.

The real issue here is that anyone driving with one hand on the wheel, staring at their screen while punching in letters and concentrating on texting or talking while driving should be punished! It is a major distraction that simply cannot be compared to listening to the radio which is one push activation and that is the goal of the law. To use a hands free device with one push activation or voice recognition which most new technology has so that you can more focus on the task at hand; and for young people ages 16 to 24 this law is great!

We live in a fast paced society, always on the go, technology playing a major role in the choices we make. People drove before cell phones making poor choices while driving and they will continue to do so; no law will change that. But a campaign that promotes no texting while driving or talking while driving and holding your phone will raise awareness.

And as far as many people stating it's our word against the police. That is always a case if you are stopped. We are still free to fight for our rights in courts. So yes if you are caught holding your device you are GUILTY when the law simply asks you attach your device somewhere easy enough for you to use one touch and bluetooth technology to answer a call, and hey... if the phone rings don't answer let it go to voice mail and call back or text back when you are off the road! If it even saves one life to do so I believe this law is worth more than all the complaining everyone does over the inconvenience of it.

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