ALL-PARTY SUPPORT FOR FEDELI TEXTING ZONE BILLMay 19, 2016
QUEEN’S PARK – Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli is very pleased members of all stripes in the Legislature voted today to combat distracted driving by supporting his Private Members’ Bill, the Safe Texting Zones Act, which would create designated highway “texting zones.”
Bill 190, which has received support from several stakeholders including the Canadian Automobile Association, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Desjardins, Aviva, and the Ontario Safety League, received Second Reading in the House this afternoon.
“Texting while driving poses a major risk for drivers and those they share the road with,” said Fedeli. “Distracted driving deaths in Ontario have surpassed those of impaired driving for the seventh consecutive year.”
The Bill would authorize the Minister of Transportation to designate any part of the King’s Highway as a “texting zone,” defined as an area where a driver is able to park or stop safely to use a hand-held wireless communication device. It would authorize the government to designate a commuter parking lot, transit station or rest, service or other area as a texting zone and require signs be displayed at or approaching it.
Designating specific texting zones, as New York State did in 2013, would be especially helpful in reducing distracted driving on rural and Northern highways where cell service can be intermittent and there are long distances between rest stops, Fedeli added.
According to the Ministry of Transportation, research shows that drivers who use cell phones are four times more likely to be in a collision than drivers who focus on the road. When drivers take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds, crash risk doubles.
“The Safe Texting Zones Act sends a clear message that there is no longer an excuse for drivers who endanger themselves and those they share the road with by texting and driving,” Fedeli said. “I look forward to the bill coming before Committee.”
Video of Fedeli’s Second Reading remarks can be found online here: https://youtu.be/BnybNlmCT1M