Happy New Year!

On Jan. 1, 2010, police will begin enforcing changes to the Motor Vehicle Act that mean drivers can only use hands-free cellphones and devices that require just one touch to activate. Fines will begin on Feb. 1, 2010 when a driver talking on a hand-held phone or electronic device will face a fine of $167. Drivers caught texting or emailing will be subject to 3 penalty points in addition to the $167 fine.

To comply with the new law, fully licensed drivers can use hands-free technology that is activated by a single touch to a button, or when it is safe to do so, pull over to a legal parking place and stop their vehicle before they talk or email.

New drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP - Class 7 and 7L) are fully banned on all cellphone and electronic devices, including hands-free. A recent report entitled 'Teens and Distracted Driving' by Washington D.C.-based Pew Research found that of those teens 16 to 17 years of age who own a cellphone or text regularly, more than half have talked on a cellphone while driving, and one in three has texted while driving. GLP drivers face a $167 fine and 3 pentaly points.

For a detailed summary on what is permitted and what is prohibited under the legislation, provided by the office of the superintendent of motor vehicles click the link below:

Cell Phone Texting Driving Ban Summary PDF for Download

So, buy yourself a bluetooth headset. A top of the line Jawbone Prime Bluetooth Headset is about $130 at Costco, or about $37 less than your first fine. You can get a decent bluetooth starting at around $40 - $60. If you are in a collision and you are not using a headset, the Insurance Company will use this against you.

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*I certify that I am not a lawyer, I am not an insurance adjuster, I do not work for ICBC or any other insurance company and I am not obtaining this information on behalf of ICBC or any other insurance company.