On January 23, 2010, Prince Edward Island outlawed the use of cell phones, smart phones, gps, personal data assistants and laptop computers while operating a motor vehicle. The Transportation department announced there would be an unspecified “initial adjustment period” during which warning tickets would be issued to the caught lawbreakers. After this period fines will range from $250.00 to $400.00. 3 demerits will also be added to the driving record, which could increase insurance rates.
This makes P.E.I the seventh of ten Canadian provinces to enact a “distracted driving ban” to deal with this problem. Numerous studies have shown that cell phone (and similar handheld wireless devices) use increases the risk of motor vehicle accidents. The province of Alberta announced plans for a distracted driving law this spring. This will leave New Brunswick and Saskatchewan as the only provinces without the ban.
The P.E.I. government will launch a thorough public awareness and education campaign to help the Islanders understand the new law. They will post ads in newspapers, radio, billboards and brochures.
The PEI law will not cover usage of hands free or one touch devices as well as two way radios such as taxicab, trucking and citizen band radios.