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Driving while using hand-held cellphone now nets $155 fine

Published February 1, 2010


Stop hiding that cellphone in your hair.

The police are onto that trick. And starting Monday, it will cost you.

Now that the education period for Ontario's hands-free law is over, drivers caught texting, emailing or talking on a hand-held cellphone will have to pay $155.

To make a call, you will have to pull over or use a hands-free phone.

Since the legislation came into effect in October, Ontario Provincial Police officers have warned 3,260 drivers. And even though warnings were the official approach during the education period, the OPP laid 64 charges for "extenuating circumstances," said Insp. Dave Ross, an OPP spokesman.

Spurred by research that shows drivers who text and dial behind the wheel are four times more likely to crash, the province hopes its new legislation will save lives.

But experts are increasingly agreed that the use of any cellphone while driving, even hands-free models, leads to accidents.

One study released Friday found drivers in the District of Columbia, California and Connecticut got in just as many accidents with hands-free phones after hand-held cellphone bans took effect.

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