Newfoundland bans cellphones in cars

12.20.02

No offense, Damian, but your provincial government has just given us a whole new cause to crack Newfie jokes.

Legislation banning handheld cellphones in cars was just passed by the Newfoundland cabinet.

“I know that all the other provinces realize that the use of cellphones by drivers is a problem,” said Walter Noel, the province’s government services minister. “They have various reasons not to act on it to date (but) I think we’ll see more provinces act before very long,” he said in an interview Friday.

Anyone caught breaking the law will receive four demerit points on their driver’s licence and fines ranging from $45 to $180.

This law is both restrictive and ridiculous. There are tons of idiots who drive erratically while on the phone, true. But there are also many people who use the phone responsibly. And what about other distractions, such as changing the radio station, drinking coffee, or checking makeup in the rearview mirror? Should all of those things be banned too?

Cell phone laws are always advocated by people looking for an easy scapegoat for road accidents. But there were plenty of accidents before cell phones were invented, and there will be plenty more even after this ban is imposed. Studies have indicated that there is no evidence that cell phone use causes accidents. This is a fluff law, designed to appease the public while solving nothing.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jaws 12.20.02 at 6:29 PM

There have been laws such as that one down here in the States for a few years now. So it shouldn’t be that much of a suprise to you folks up north.

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2 Jonny 12.20.02 at 7:05 PM

I used to deliver pizzas, and I noticed quite a few people in traffic almost causing accidents while talking on their cell phones. I couldn’t agree more with this law.

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3 Geoff 12.20.02 at 9:48 PM

Good thing I can still drive with my cellphone when I’m in Montreal tomorrow eh? Heh.

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4 segacs 12.20.02 at 9:50 PM

Yeah, and good thing my new cell phone has a speakerphone mode. I guess if they ever pass that law here in Montreal I’ll be covered.

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5 Joe 12.21.02 at 1:29 AM

No offense Segacs, but your arguments are bullshit. When you say that studies have shown that there is no evidence that cell phones cause accidents, you obviously must have missed quite a few:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1885775.stm
http://www.chicagotribune.com/technology/ct-cyberdistracted2.realvideo
http://cbc.ca/stories/2002/09/14/cellphone_ban020914
http://www.nsc.org/issues/idrive/cellfone.htm

Your first argument is that two-wrongs make a right, and that’s obviously crap. You could make the same argument for being able to drink alcohol while driving. Just because other distractions are not illegal, does not change the fact that talking on a cell phone increases the likelihood of getting into an accident. Your second argument is also crap because it has nothing to do with anything. People were dying long before the invention of the A-bomb, that doesn’t mean the A-bomb doesn’t kill people or should be considered safe . No one said cell phones cause ALL accidents.

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6 thufir 04.04.05 at 10:58 PM

Just visiting, but yeah, the comparison between this and driving drunk is dead accurate. There are, indeed, many people who drive drunk and don’t crack up on the way home — you may even have been one of them. This doesn’t mean it’s not a higher-risk activity to drive drunk, or that driving drunk should be legal.

They used to think back in the early 20th century that having a tipple before hitting the road actually soothed your nerves so you could drive better. Your arguments vis-a-vis cellphones don’t sound quite this apologist, but they’re close.

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