Road safety bill would ban texting while crossing roads in Ontario

A woman crosses the road while texting on a smart phone in downtown Toronto on Monday, October 30, 2017.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO - An Ontario provincial legislator says he will introduce a so-called "zombie bill" that would target distracted walking.

Liberal Yvan Baker says the bill — called the Phones Down, Heads Up Act — would impose fines for anyone caught using their cellphone or any electronic device while crossing the street.

Baker says if the private member's bill becomes law, it would increase road safety by encouraging pedestrians to put down their electronic devices or risk fines ranging from $50 for a first offence to $125 for a third offence.

The only exceptions would be when pedestrians are calling emergency services or when they're continuing a phone call which started before crossing the roadway.

Baker says municipalities across Ontario would have the ability to opt-out of the law.

Rising pedestrian deaths have prompted other jurisdictions in the world to pass laws targeting distracted walking.

Earlier this month, Honolulu, Hawaii, became the first U.S. city to ban people from texting or using other digital devices while crossing roads.


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