For Release: 5/11/2011

Originator: Sergeant, Dave Cross, Media Relations Officer, 905 825-4899

Contact: Chantal Corner, Sergeant, Burlington District Response Unit, 905 825-4747 x2372

Location: Burlington

Halton Police urge Motorists to Hang up and Buckle up!

In October 2009 Ontario introduced a ban on the use of hand held communication devices while operating a motor vehicle.  Police issued warnings for a period of three months in efforts to educate the public and to encourage drivers to break the habit of using a hand held device while driving.  Effective February 1, 2010 officers throughout the Province began issuing Distracted Driving Provincial Offence Notices.  However, even though the law has been in effect for well over a year, the number of drivers who still violate this legislation is unacceptable.

In an effort to improve road safety and driver attention through education and enforcement, the Burlington District Response Unit officers recently turned their focus towards these violators through an initiative called “Project Disconnect”.

The purpose of this project was to focus on drivers who talk, text, type, dial or e-mail using handheld cell phones or other communication and entertainment devices.
During a four day period between May 3rd and May 6th, 2011, the Burlington District Response Unit issued 223 Provincial offence notices, 207 being for violations under the Distracted Driver Legislation.

Education and awareness are crucial to changing behavior and it is recognized that breaking the habit of answering that call or checking that text or email cannot be done by enforcement projects alone.

Deputy Chief Bob Percy stated, “The public needs to take the impact of using these devices while driving seriously.  When you are using a handheld device, you aren’t paying attention to the road or the hazards around you where a momentary distraction can be a life altering decision.  No phone call or text message is important enough to risk your life or the lives of others.”

Although there was extra attention focused on distracted driving during the project, the Halton Regional Police Service enforces this, and all traffic legislation throughout the year.  Please put down the phone and keep your eyes on the road.  Hang up and buckle up!

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