Bill 118, Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act, 2009

Bradley, Hon James J. Minister of Transportation

Current Status: Royal Assent received Chapter Number: S.O. 2009 C.4

Viewing: Royal Assent (current version) pdf

Bill 118                                                        2009

An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act to prohibit the use of devices with display screens and hand-held communication and entertainment devices and to amend the Public Vehicles Act with respect to car pool vehicles

Note: This Act amends or repeals more than one Act.  For the legislative history of these Acts, see the Table of Consolidated Public Statutes – Detailed Legislative History on www.e-Laws.gov.on.ca.

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

Highway Traffic Act

   1.  Section 78 of the Highway Traffic Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Display screen visible to driver prohibited

   78.  (1)  No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway if the display screen of a television, computer or other device in the motor vehicle is visible to the driver.

Exceptions

   (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of the display screen of,

  (a)  a global positioning system navigation device while being used to provide navigation information;

  (b)  a hand-held wireless communication device or a device that is prescribed for the purpose of subsection 78.1 (1);

   (c)  a logistical transportation tracking system device used for commercial purposes to track vehicle location, driver status or the delivery of packages or other goods;

  (d)  a collision avoidance system device that has no other function than to deliver a collision avoidance system; or

  (e)  an instrument, gauge or system that is used to provide information to the driver regarding the status of various systems of the motor vehicle.

Same

   (3)  Subsection (1) does not apply to the driver of an ambulance, fire department vehicle or police department vehicle.

Exemption by regulation

   (4)  The Minister may make regulations exempting any class of persons or vehicles or any device from this section and prescribing conditions and circumstances for any such exemption.

   2.  Part VI of the Act is amended by adding the following section:

Hand-held devices prohibited

Wireless communication devices

   78.1  (1)  No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device or other prescribed device that is capable of receiving or transmitting telephone communications, electronic data, mail or text messages.

Entertainment devices

   (2)  No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held electronic entertainment device or other prescribed device the primary use of which is unrelated to the safe operation of the motor vehicle.

Hands-free mode allowed

   (3)  Despite subsections (1) and (2), a person may drive a motor vehicle on a highway while using a device described in those subsections in hands-free mode.

Exceptions

   (4)  Subsection (1) does not apply to,

  (a)  the driver of an ambulance, fire department vehicle or police department vehicle;

  (b)  any other prescribed person or class of persons;

   (c)  a person holding or using a device prescribed for the purpose of this subsection; or

  (d)  a person engaged in a prescribed activity or in prescribed conditions or circumstances.

Same

   (5)  Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of the use of a device to contact ambulance, police or fire department emergency services. 

Same

   (6)  Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply if all of the following conditions are met:

    1.  The motor vehicle is off the roadway or is lawfully parked on the roadway.

    2.  The motor vehicle is not in motion.

    3.  The motor vehicle is not impeding traffic.

Regulations

   (7)  The Minister may make regulations,

  (a)  prescribing devices for the purpose of subsections (1) and (2);

  (b)  prescribing persons, classes of persons, devices, activities, conditions and circumstances for the purpose of subsection (4).

Definition

   (8)  In this section,

“motor vehicle” includes a street car, motorized snow vehicle, farm tractor, self-propelled implement of husbandry and road-building machine.

Public Vehicles Act

   3.  (1)  The definition of “car pool vehicle” in section 1 of the Public Vehicles Act is repealed.

   (2)  The definition of “public vehicle” in section 1 of the Act is amended by striking out “car pool vehicles”.

   (3)  The definition of “taxicab” in section 1 of the Act is amended by striking out “other than a car pool vehicle”.

   (4)  Section 1 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

Car pool vehicles

   (2)  Subject to subsection (4), a public vehicle and a taxicab do not include a motor vehicle, as defined in the Highway Traffic Act, with a seating capacity of not more than 10 persons, while it is transporting not more than 10 persons including the driver on a one-way or round trip where the taking of passengers is incidental to the driver’s purpose for the trip.

Same

   (3)  For greater certainty, a trip described in subsection (2) includes a round trip between the residences, or places reasonably convenient to the residences, of any or all of the driver and passengers and a common destination, including the driver’s and passengers’ place of employment or education, or a place reasonably convenient to the driver’s and passengers’ various places of employment or education.

Same

   (4)  In order to be excluded from the definitions of public vehicle and taxicab, the use of a motor vehicle as described in subsection (2) must also meet the following conditions:

    1.  No fee is charged or paid to the driver, owner or lessee of the motor vehicle for the passengers’ transportation, except an amount to reimburse the expenses of operating the motor vehicle as described in subsection (2) on a non-profit basis.

    2.  The driver does not take passengers on more than one one-way or round trip in a day.

    3.  The owner of the motor vehicle, or the lessee of the motor vehicle if it is leased, does not own or lease more than one motor vehicle used as described in subsection (2) unless the owner or lessee is the employer of a majority of the persons transported in the motor vehicles.

Same

   (5)  A motor vehicle described in subsection (2) does not include a motor vehicle while being operated by or under contract with a school board or other authority in charge of a school for the transportation of children to or from a school.

Commencement and Short Title

Commencement

   4.  (1)  Subject to subsection (2), this Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.

Same

   (2)  Sections 1 and 2 come into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

Short title

   5.  The short title of this Act is the Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act, 2009.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTE

This Explanatory Note was written as a reader’s aid to Bill 118 and does not form part of the law.  Bill 118 has been enacted as Chapter 4 of the Statutes of Ontario, 2009.

The Bill amends the Highway Traffic Act to prohibit driving with display screens and other devices in motor vehicles, as follows:

Driving a motor vehicle with the display screen of a television, computer or other device visible to the driver is prohibited.  The display screens of global positioning system navigation devices, hand-held communication and similar prescribed devices, commercially-used logistical transportation tracking systems, collision avoidance systems and instruments, gauges and systems providing information regarding the status of systems of the motor vehicle are exempted from the prohibition.  Drivers of ambulances, fire department vehicles and police department vehicles are also exempted.  The Minister of Transportation may provide for further exemptions by regulation.

Driving while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device or electronic entertainment device is prohibited.  Use of such devices in the hands-free mode is exempted.  Use of such devices while the motor vehicle is off the travelled part of the road, not in motion and not impeding traffic is exempted.  Drivers of ambulances, fire department vehicles and police department vehicles are exempted from the prohibitions respecting hand-held wireless communication devices, as are any drivers using the devices to contact ambulance, police or fire department emergency services.  The Minister of Transportation may prohibit holding or using other devices by regulation and may provide for further exemptions by regulation.

The Bill amends the Public Vehicles Act with respect to car pool vehicles, as follows:

The definitions of “public vehicle” and “taxicab” in the Act currently exclude a car pool vehicle.  These definitions are amended and the definition of “car pool vehicle” is repealed.  Section 1 of the Act is amended to state that a public vehicle and a taxicab do not include a motor vehicle described as follows: with a seating capacity of 10 or less; travelling on a one-way or round trip where the taking of passengers is incidental to the driver’s purpose for the trip; no fee is charged or paid for passengers’ transportation except to reimburse the expenses of operating the motor vehicle; the driver does not take passengers on more than one one-way or round trip in a day; and the owner or lessee of the motor vehicle does not use more than one vehicle as a car pool vehicle, unless the owner or lessee employs most of the passengers being transported in the vehicles.

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