Doctors urge Ont. to ban cellphone talk while driving
Ontario’s doctors are urging the provincial government to curb the use of cellphones while driving, pointing to new research released Sunday detailing just how risky it is to yack behind the wheel.
Research compiled by the Ontario Medical Association found evidence that using a cellphone, even a handsfree device, has a significant impact on the driver’s cognitive functions, visual concentration, the speed with which he or she can process information and reaction time.
“Too many drivers treat talking on the phone while driving as a harmless practice,” said Dr. Ken Arnold, president of the association. “It’s not an easy prescription to give, but the practice has to be curtailed.”
The numbers show that talking on cellphones resulted in, among other things, a 15 per cent increase in nonresponse to stop lights, slowed braking by 18 per cent, fewer glances at traffic lights and mirrors and a decrease in safe distance between vehicles.
Government initiatives to curtail cellphone use while driving have been implemented in Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, various U.S. states, Australia and much of Europe, said the association.