Legislation has been introduced in the Ontario legislature that would make the province the fourth Canadian jurisdiction to ban the use of cell phones while driving a motor vehicle.

But the legislation goes further than just cell phones. It also covers hand-held GPSs and other handheld digital devices.

Conversely, dash-mounted GPSs and cell phones with hands-free ear-pieces would be exempt from the ban.

Controversy continues to surround hands-free cell phones. The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) recently warned that hands-free phones are just as distracting to drivers as hand-held devices because users must still divide their attention between the conversation and the road.

Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) rep Marc Choma told reporters his organization doesn’t oppose the ban on the use of handhelds while driving but would prefer that governments address the problem of driver distraction more broadly: “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone is eating a hamburger, trying to text-message someone or trying to change a baby’s diaper … it’s going to get you into trouble.”

Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Québec already have laws in place banning the use of handheld cell phones while driving.

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