The Ontario government introduced legislation, which took effect on October 26, 2009, banning the use of all hand-held devices while driving. The law also makes it illegal for drivers to hold the device in their hand while driving, even if it is not actively being used. The use of hands-free devices is still permitted, and drivers may use hand-held devices to call 9-1-1.
According the 2015 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS), about half (48% (35.0%, 61.0%)) of Simcoe Muskoka students (with a valid driver’s license) reported texting or emailing while driving in the past year. This was higher (but not statistically significant) than the 35% (31.0%, 39.9%) of Ontario students that texted or email while driving in the past year.
Simcoe Muskoka adult drivers (18 years and older) were surveyed as part of the Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS). In 2015 in Simcoe Muskoka, 81% (76.8%, 84.0%) of adult drivers (18+) with cell phones reported never using a hand-held mobile device while driving. The proportion of adult drivers in Simcoe Muskoka that reported never using a hand-held mobile device while driving in 2015 was significantly higher than what was reported in both 2010 and 2012. However, one-in-five drivers (19% (16.0%, 23.1%)) drivers still reported using a hand-held mobile device while driving and 15% (12.4%, 19.1%) reported texting or emailing while driving. Texting or emailing while driving is highest among: drivers under 45 years of age, male drivers and those that drive daily.
Between 2010-2015 (combined) in Simcoe Muskoka among adult drivers (18+) with a cell phone, the reporting of never using a hand-held mobile device while driving is highest among: older drivers, lower income drivers and those that don’t drive on a daily basis.