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Ontario cell phone legislaton

Old 10-29-2008, 06:47 PM
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Ontario cell phone legislaton


It will soon be illegal to drive while talking on a hand held cell phone in Ontario. Whenever a law like this gets passed, those in opposition come out of the woodwork. I thought I’d clarify how I believe this law came to be passed.

The coming Cell Phone legislation is the legislative offspring of the 2007 anti-street racing legislation. This is a law that had to come because of my book – ABUSE OF POWER - explaining how street racing legislation is illegal and that the government committed criminal code offences to pass the law (which is still not really a legal law).

The first thing to be clear about is that this is not just a simple cash grab although it will certainly be that.

For years Ontario police have been trying to convince the public that “speed” causes accidents when anyone with a basic understanding of physics and an ounce of common sense knows this is not the case. Speed among other factors does determine the severity of an accident.

The fact is, accidents are caused approximately 80% of the time by inattention, distraction, medical conditions, and body chemistry. That number was arrived at first by my anecdotal research in 1998 by simply following what is reported by the media and was unknowingly confirmed by extensive research conducted by the insurance industry in the US and Canada.

It took me ten years of trying to get this information into the public forum. It still isn’t being discussed in its entirety. The huge role diet plays in the death toll is still not on the table. It’s one of those topics no one wants to know about. Too damned bad. It’s going to come – mostly because it’s easy to monitor and easy to lay huge fines for non-compliance – easier, more effective and more reliable than trying to catch speeders.

While the police have been basically lying to the public about the real nature of accident causation and exacting onerous fines for same, the insurance industry just like the rest of us thought something was out of whack. Unlike the rest of us, they have the money, the resources and the motivation to ferret out the truth in exhaustive detail. We all know how insurance companies hate to pay out on claims.

Their research shows conclusively that the police are wrong and the insurance researchers are right. The manner in which the two entities collect the data is significant too and motivation plays a telling role in that too. The police have no financial stake in determining cause. They want a quick solution to a problem so they can wrap up the case. Judging by the manner in which accident statistics are compiled and posted in the ORSAR charts, the police and the MTO statisticians are just as confused as anyone else as to what the numbers gathered by the police are supposed to mean. The idea behind the site is excellent the execution of the work is dreadful and largely a waste of tax dollars.

The insurance people have plenty of time and resources to analyze accidents and the ability to apply the latest and greatest science and brain power to the job. Hire the best people, use the best equipment. Stop the financial bleeding.

If speed, including street racing was the prime or even a major cause of accidents no car or truck could be sold in Canada capable of speeds exceeding the speed limit. The insurance industry ended the muscle car era by itself. They could end the question of speed causing accidents in exactly the same way – raise premiums on the faster cars to the point where they could not be afforded by anyone.

In my book, I stated that by not telling the truth about the true causes of motor vehicle accidents, the government and particularly the OPP were and still are contributing to the death toll on our highways by ignoring the elephant in the room - that distraction in its various forms is the real cause of nearly all accidents, not speed. It's a myth that once exposed comes with a known-by date and the potential for criminal prosecution of elected officials and civil servants individually by members of the public – over and over again.

The known-date was established the day I gave a copy of ABUSE OF POWER to my MPP Wayne Arthurs. That date was Friday, September 26, 2008.

The importance of a known-by date according to the Criminal Code is this: before that date, an elected official or other civil servant can honestly claim they did not know that by their actions, they were committing or enabling the commission of a criminal code offence. Thus they are immune to criminal prosecution or civil suits by the public. After that date, they are legally required to know. Ignorance of the truth and reality is no protection and no excuse.

When a civil servant inadvertently commits or enables a crime in the course of doing their jobs, they can not be prosecuted for the offence. But once they know or should have known that they were committing a criminal code offence, they become personally liable for their actions and thus not entitled to have the government pay for their defence.

To leave the Cell Phone issue unattended to after receiving my book with its detailed and charted rendering of the facts would have exposed many members of the Ontario government to ruinous legal action at some point in the near future. Once one person was successfully charged, that same person any others connected to the crime can be charged or sued each time the crime occurs. That means elected officials can be charged and sued over and over again as different people are impacted by the crime.

At some point the public is going to wake up to the fact that public officials are not nearly as protected as we have been lead to believe. No one is above the law. The hurdle is to have the evidence cross the threshold of admissibility in a court of law. If the Cell Phone Law was not enacted, quite a lot of people in the Ontario government would have soon begun to feel like ducks in a shooting gallery.

The only real obstacle to laying criminal charges against elected officials and civil servants is the fact that the police routinely commit crimes themselves. One crime in particular: Obstruction of Justice. To lay charges you either need a police officer to lay them for you or you have to fill out the paperwork yourself and try to get a Justice of the Peace accept it. The odds are heavily stacked against this even when very serious crimes are committed. The police lie and say the issue is a civil matter. The fact is, Criminal Code offences are never civil matters. The police simply do not want to open that door. But I believe the public is fast losing its patience with governments and police and their casual attitude to the law. Change will come and the internet is going to be a huge factor and the real tool that will get the job done.

Make no mistake my book was not the only factor that caused this law. Lots of other people and groups were putting pressure on the government to act. But the book gave them powerful motivation to act or face dire personal consequences.

There is not one of you reading this who could have done differently under the circumstances than the Honourable Jim Bradley, Minister of Transportation, Ontario did. He had no choice. So to blabber about the Cell Phone Law being a tax grab is to ignore stark reality. The penalty has to be stiff enough to make people not want to commit the offence. That's why it's $500.00 and not $50.00.

Certainly there will be lots of opposition and bellyaching. I listened to the Mike Stafford show today on am640 and heard the complaints I expected: "I’m a contractor. I do all my business on my cell. Or – People should be better trained as drivers so they can better multitask; I’m a salesman – if I miss the call I lose the business."

All of them miss the most important point – when you are behind the wheel, you are there for one reason only – to move the vehicle and its contents from point A to point B without damage to vehicle, contents, other vehicles and their contents and other people’s lives or property. When you are behind the wheel, you’re in a position of nearly sacred trust. That trust demands your full attention. Every other person or thing around you trusts you (without ever having met you) to do the right thing without compromise and without your betraying the trust. That is why a driver’s license is a privilege not a right.

When you are behind the wheel regardless of your profession you are only one thing – a driver. You are not a contractor, you are not a movie star, you are not a doctor and you are in no way shape or form anything but a driver with a care of duty. If you want to be one of those other things, then you have to be those other things while the vehicle under your control is motionless and not impeding traffic.

A big part of the danger of hand held devices is the potential for something to go wrong when trying to answer what might be an important call. Fumbling around for the phone, dropping it, bumping it all tend to take attention away from the road ahead. This is more serious than the actual conversation because an in-vehicle panic situation has occurred that needs near instant resolution. Accidents happen when that resolution takes too long. This is not something that can be denied. It’s not something where you can say, “Oh, I’m good at it now, it’ll never happen again.” The truth is it will happen at least once more.

The cell phone law does not ban cell phone conversations – just those conducted on a hand held device. You can still do your business hands free. I can tell you as a person who is deaf in one ear and having only limited hearing in the other, that hands free calls work fine. They are even more effective if you have a wireless such as Blue Tooth or similar forms of hands free technology. In the wake of this law the technology will get even better in a hurry. The inconvenience will not last.

On a personal note: am I perfect? Have I never committed this offence? Not by a long shot. I've talked while driving using both hands free and hand held. Hands free feels unnatural to me. But hands free's unnatural feel seems a small trade-off to the feel of the silk lining in a coffin - mine or a potential victim's.
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:41 AM
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wow ... respect ... if all canadians would be like you canada would be the opposite of what it is now . For that matter I wonder how many of the commercials staring at you off the Gardiner's, should also be considered distractions.

Last edited by coszmin; 10-30-2008 at 03:46 AM.
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:13 AM
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kinda sad when you need a bill to be passed to prevent such a preventable idiocy
where is the common sense?
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Old 10-30-2008, 01:52 PM
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Visual Distractions

Originally Posted by coszmin View Post
wow ... respect ... if all canadians would be like you canada would be the opposite of what it is now . For that matter I wonder how many of the commercials staring at you off the Gardiner's, should also be considered distractions.
You have a valid point. I've felt the same way for a long time and I believe I'll include it in future communications. Thanks for being alert.
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:46 PM
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Just my .02 cents.

Speed does cause accidents, depending on the scenario... You can't say that if you were traveling at a slower speed, you'd be able to control ur vehicle better enough to avoid an accident, or had more time to stop, or lost control of the vehicle. Depending on the circumstances speed can be the fundamental cause of accidents, it could play a part, or it can not be an issue.

True, cell phones aren't the only distraction to the human's naked eye, billboards, construction, other drivers, passenger, radio, gps, etc can all be distractions.

Key thing is limiting the distractions that can be controlled. I can see in the future, billboards being not allowed / banned as well as other distractive gadgets.

Last edited by D-BesT; 10-31-2008 at 08:54 PM. Reason: Misread post
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Old 11-06-2008, 12:06 AM
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Reality Check

While most people seem to think this legislation is a good idea I'm amazed anyone would trust this government to remain focused on safety and not turn it into another cash grab. Do you remember this:
  1. We have a problem with street racers.
  2. Let's create a law to get them.
  3. Let's charge thousands of people who aren't street racers.
70% of the people charged with street racing were never convicted of street racing. But they still lost their cars and had their licences suspended.

Do you really think inattentive drivers will be charged? All I see are traffic blitzes where anyone with their hand up against their ear will be pulled over. Don't have a cellphone? Doesn't matter, you LOOKED like you had a phone.

Today I almost got cut off by a guy making a left turn in front of me. He was talking on a cell phone and smoking a cigarette. Here's the kicker: he was a cop in a marked cruiser!
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Old 11-07-2008, 10:38 AM
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Ban HOT CHIC'S on the sidewalk. Biggest distraction of all!!!
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Old 11-14-2008, 02:54 PM
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^^ yeah make it a legislation to put all the hott chicks that are caught walking on the streets to go to my bedroom for some punishment
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:22 PM
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this is a good post. i liek it because that is the true problem. its easy for stats Can to judge an accident , and many others can also. when they hear an accident on the HWY they dont investigate every accident. i would love to see the gov. say we are wrong but it never happens like that........
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Old 01-07-2009, 08:27 PM
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... police needs money... how do you get it? U come up with a way to get income...

...its a no brainer that the street racing law is favoured by police as its a great way to justify extra funding.
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