For those of you not following the news over in the Great White North I will fill you in a little bit. Last month the ‘distracted driving’ law came into effect, where-as you will not be able to chat away on a cell phone while driving without risk of incurring a fine of up to $500. It seems one Canadian politician wants to take it one step further!
Jim Bradlley (Ontario’s transportation minister) made this statement Thursday after telling reporters he was proud of the new legislation he helped draft and as they walked away he mentioned his plans to make this law much more encompassing in the near future. He was quoted as saying; “Sure talking on a cell phone while driving is dangerous but there are many other activities occuring during driving that are just as dangerous if not more-so.” “For example the other day I was almost side-swiped by a man that was completely distracted while picking his nose, and I don’t mean just a nose scratch – he was in up to his knuckle”.
There has been testing done that has shown that picking your nose while driving is even more dangerous than using a cell phone because of the high occurrences of physical injury while conducting this type of behavior. I would like to see all types of distractions lead to a hefty fine, my advice for this particular offense would be an $850 fine.
At least one politician finds those comments worrying. “Everyone should realize there is no place this government will not go intruding into private lives,” Conservative MPP Randy Hillier said. He went on to say, “what is next? No eating broccoli with dinner due to the possibility of passing of gas into the atmosphere thereby increasing global warming?”
Experts have questioned the effectiveness of distracted driving laws. In other jurisdictions they have not always changed drivers’ habits. After an initial reduction in New York, for example, cellphone use was reportedly back to pre-ban rates within one year.
The insurance industry says the new law is a good first step in making distracted driving socially unacceptable. In fact Bill Crespen of Walden’s Insurance says, “personally we would like to see all distractions result in large fines, whether it is picking your nose, applying make-up or talking on a cell phone – they can all potentially kill you”.