Ministry stats show cellphone law saves lives
The law targeting drivers using cell phones appears to be working says a provincial government news release.
The new law “is estimated to have saved 16 lives and brought about a 12-per-cent reduction in the number of serious injuries,” the Solicitor General’s Ministry.
Changes to the Motor Vehicle Act came into affect in Feb. 1, 2010 to prevent the use of hand-held cellphones and electronic devices while driving.
Anyone caught holding an electronic device, such as cellphone, is subject to a $167 fine.
In addition to the fine, drivers caught texting or emailing will receive three penalty points,.
The release also said the new regime allows drivers who feel they must talk on the phone while driving to use a hand-free device.
Stats show from Feb. 1, 2010 to July 31, 2011, fatalities related to distracted driving dropped by 12 per cent.
Serious injuries related to distracted driving also went down 12 per cent from a comparable time period in 2008 and 2009.
Using a hand-held cellphone while driving is not the only category of offence in the distracted driving law.
The statistics, kept by police forces, include other factors, such as reading a map or tending to children.
“Between Feb. 1, 2010 and Sept. 30, 2011, police issued 46,008 tickets to drivers for using a hand-held electronic device while driving,” said the release.
“During the same time period, another 1,372 tickets were issued to drivers for emailing or texting while driving.
“Police have issued over 34 per cent more tickets for distracted driving in 2011 than in the previous year,” it added.