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Ministry of Transportation Proposes Permanent Exemption for Use of Handheld Devices and Display Screens

SEPTEMBER 23, 2019 - The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has proposed a regulatory amendment that would exempt municipal employees from the ban on the use of handheld devices and display screens. OGRA has long argued for such an exemption.

In December 2017, the Minister of Transportation extended Ontario Regulation 366/09 (Display Screens and Hand-Held Devices) under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) for a three-year period until January 1st, 2021. The proposed regulation will make this exemption permanent.

This regulation allows a driver to push and hold the button on a hand-held two-way radio device when driving. The driver may push a button to talk and release it to listen, repeating as often as necessary to conduct a conversation. If the hand-held device is a microphone, it must be secured in, or mounted to the vehicle and within easy reach of the driver. Two-way radio hand-held devices that are clipped to the driver's belt or attached to his/her clothing are also exempt.

OGRA fully endorses this proposal since it balances the safety of road users with the requirements of effective law enforcement. It also recognizes the important work that public works officials perform to maintain the services and infrastructure Ontarians rely on.

A summary of this proposals has been posted to Ontario’s Regulatory Registry Display Screens and Hand-Held Devices - Exemption Review (Posting #2019-MTO028) and can be viewed in English or French.

OGRA encourages all municipalities to make their voices heard on this issue.

Join the conversation about this Heads Up Alert at the OGRA Interchange

The mandate of the Ontario Good Roads Association is to represent the transportation and public works interests of municipalities through advocacy, consultation, training and the delivery of identified services.