Ontario's Court of Appeal declared on Friday that merely holding a mobile phone in the ear is illegal in the Canadian city. The stringent standard is in relation to a case of two motorists who were convicted under the Highway Traffic Act.
Khojasteh Kazemi was convicted for violating the prohibition on use of cell phones while behind the wheel even if she claimed the device just fell of the seat to the car's floor and she picked it up during a red light which was when an officer saw her holding the phone in her ear.
With the decision, the Appeal Court reversed a decision by a lower court judge who dismissed the charge against Ms Kazemi.
In the second case, Hugo Pizzurro argued to the Court that the unit was not capable of sending or receiving calls or text message at that time. But the court rejected his argument on the ground the mobile phones have that capability built in the unit.
In justifying the tough benchmark that appear absurd when compared to driving laws and the use of mobile device in other cities and nations, the court cited former Toronto Transportation Minister Jim Bradley that "Road safety is best ensured by a complete prohibition on having a cellphone in one's hand at all while driving."
The court added, "A complete prohibition also best focuses a driver's undivided attention on driving ... In short it removed the various ways that road safety and driver attention can be harmful if a driver has a cellphone in his or her hand while driving."
About 30 per cent to 80 per cent of all road collisions in Ontario are the result of using mobile phone or other hand held devices while driving.
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