Windsor Star

Doctors urge Ont. to ban cellphone talk while driving

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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.

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