“Safe texting zone” bill gets second reading in Ontario

The move is applauded by Aviva Canada, which is urging the Ontario government to adopt the legislation

An Ontario private member’s bill designed to combat distracted driving through the creation of designated “safe texting zones” on the King’s Highway went through a second reading on Thursday.

Vic Fedeli, member of provincial parliament for Nipissing, Ont., initially introduced the bill in 2016. The bill, if approved, would amend the Highway Traffic Act so that the shoulder of an Ontario highway can be designated as a safe texting zone in which drivers can legally pull over in order to use their handheld device.

An approved bill would also affect the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act by allowing the lieutenant governor in council to designate a commuter parking lot, transit station, rest area or service area as a safe texting zone.

The news of the bill’s second reading was applauded by Aviva Canada, which is urging the government of Ontario to adopt this legislation.

“Distracted driving deaths have surpassed impaired driving deaths. There is such a stigma with impaired driving, but texting and driving is still relatively socially acceptable,” said Karin Ots, senior vice president of regulatory and government relations at Aviva Canada. “It’s unacceptable and accounts for approximately 25% of all fatal accidents. We are hopeful that safe texting zones will encourage more responsible behaviour.”



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