Distracted Driving

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Collisions caused by drivers not paying attention have doubled in Ontario since 2000.

During the Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario (AARO) Symposium/Trade Show on October 21, 2017 at the Holiday Inn Oakville Centre in Oakville, Ont., one of the key topics concerned the changes and updates to Ontario’s vehicle inspection regulations.

New standards

In July 2016, the Ministry of Transportation implemented a new Passenger Light Duty Vehicle Inspection Standard to replace Schedules 1 and 2 in Ontario Regulation 611, which were quite outdated. AARO invited Rob Stickan, Enforcement Officer from the Ministry of Transportation, to give attendees updates on the standards. At present there are more than 13,000 licenced inspection stations with more than 30,000 registered technicians in the province of Ontario.

The Federal Government sets safety standards for new vehicles at the time of manufacture and enforces standards with OEM manufacturers.

The Provincial Government sets safety standards for vehicle equipment and maintenance and enforces standards for highway use.

The role of the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) in the Motor Vehicle Inspection Standards (MVIS) program is to set standards for inspections, mechanics, stations. The MTO Administers the program, investigates complaints, enforces violations and sanctions serious offenders.

During Mr. Stickan’s briefing at the AARO Symposium, topics included distracted driving, which is the cause of more and more fatal collisions in Ontario according to provincial police.

Far greater risk

In Ontario, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000. In Ontario, one person is injured in a distracted-driving collision every half hour. A driver using a phone is four times more likely to crash than somebody who isn’t.

MTO has created a number of regulations aimed at curbing distracted driving. These include:

78.1 (1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device or other prescribed device that is capable of receiving or transmitting telephone communications, electronic data, mail or text messages.

O. Reg. 366/09, s.4 (4) Persons employed as automobile technicians or mechanics may test drive a motor vehicle on a highway with a computer display screen that provides diagnostic information about the vehicle’s performance in the motor vehicle visible to the driver.

Technician test drives

The topic concerning technicians taking vehicles for a test drive generated a lot of discussion at the AARO symposium, especially in view of the potential dangers in looking at screens while operating a motor vehicle.

Distracted driving is a major and growing problem across Canada and in many other countries around the world. And, despite regulatory enforcement, many motorists still choose to illegally operate hand-held devices while driving.

While OEMs are adding more and more connectivity features to vehicles, there needs to be continued emphasis on not only enforcement but training motorists to not use hand-held devices or screens when driving.

Feedback welcome

With the MTO’s revised Passenger Light Duty Vehicle Inspection Standard having been in place for a year now, the Ministry is re-opening the standard to make revisions based on the feedback they have received since implementation last July.

As stakeholders, AARO is invited to attend these meetings and we will keep our members informed with these revisions as they become effective. For public comment prior to approval you may go to Ontario’s Regulatory Registry and monitor the Ministry’s website at Ontario.ca/MVIS for updates. AARO will be posting information on its website at aaro.ca.

Categories : Mechanical

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