Drivers of construction vehicles should avoid hands-free devices warns Northbridge Insurance

Published: June 20, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Distracted driving is one of the most alarming problems on Canadian roads. Oftentimes, drivers are told using handsfree devices can solve the problem, but recent studies show even these solutions can cause sufficient distraction. This is especially the case for drivers operating construction and contractor vehicles, according to Northbridge Insurance.

A release by the company says fleet managers should “include a policy on the use of wireless communication devices” in their safety programs.

Northbridge Insurance presents its suggestions in a blog post title Distracted Driving: Dealing with the Dangers. It adds that employers must create clear guidelines for drivers. Among these guidelines could be permission to use handheld devices only when legally parked. Also, drivers should not answer their phone when operating the vehicle, unless with a Bluetooth connected handsfree unit.

However, “there are several situations when using cell phones or devices of any sort is probably inappropriate,” Northbridge says. Drivers operating construction vehicles need full concentration at all times and should not be operating any device, even a hand-free kit.

“As of 2016, every province and territory except for Nunavut has instituted a law against using distracting devices while driving, but the specifics will differ from one region to the next,” Northbridge points out.

In Ontario, Bill 31, the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act, was passed in 2015 and changed the maximum fine for distracted driving to $1,000, doubling the previous charge. The minimum fine was also enhanced from $60 to $300.

“The Ontario Provincial Police cite distracted driving as a causal factor in between 30% and 50% of traffic collisions in Ontario,” said Vic Fedeli, Progressive Conservative finance critic and MPP for Nipissing, at a federal meeting in March.

“It is currently illegal for drivers to talk, type, text, dial or email using hand-held cellphones and other devices,” Fedeli added. “It’s also illegal for drivers to look at display screens such as laptops, MP3 players or DVD players that are unrelated to driving.”