The law is very clear: you must not use a cell phone or other portable electronic device while driving, unless it is a hands-free device. Failure to abide by this rule is an offence subject to a fine, demerit points and, in the case of a repeat offence, an immediate suspension of the driver’s licence.
“Every driver of a road vehicle is prohibited from using a cell phone or any other portable electronic device designed to send or receive information or to be used for entertainment purposes, and from using a display screen. […] The driver of a road vehicle who is holding a portable electronic device in hand or in any other manner is presumed to be using the device.”
“The driver who consults the information displayed on a display screen, including that of a portable electronic device, or activates a screen function must respect all of the following conditions:”
The screen (integrated into the vehicle or mounted on a bracket attached to the vehicle) displays only such information as is relevant to driving the vehicle or related to the operation of its usual equipment:
driving mode (electric/fuel)
activation of various systems, such as four-wheel drive, traction control, parking assistance
road conditions, including obstacles and the condition of the pavement
weather conditions, such as visibility and temperature
The screen is placed so as not to obstruct the driver’s view, interfere with driving manoeuvres, prevent the operation of equipment or reduce its effectiveness and in a manner that does not present a risk of injury in an accident.
The screen is positioned and designed in such a way that the driver of the road vehicle can operate and consult it easily.
In other words…
Simply holding a portable electronic device in your hand or in any other manner (for example, between your shoulder and chin) while driving a road vehicle, for any reason, is illegal.
This prohibition does not apply to a driver whose vehicle is parked in a safe and legal place.
As soon as you are at the wheel of a road vehicle in a traffic lane, you are driving. Even when you are stopped at a red light or stuck in traffic, you are driving!
Simply put, when you are driving, you cannot use your cell phone or any other electronic device to…
make or answer a call
read or send a text message
check your schedule
check the time
check your Facebook activity feed
select a playlist
surf the Internet
do anything else…
The same rule applies to…
all types of phones, from the oldest model to the latest
all types of digital tablets
all types of media players (music, video, etc.)
all types of laptops
The prohibition from using a portable device or display screen does not apply:
to drivers of emergency vehicles in the performance of their duties, e.g. police officers, firefighters or ambulance attendants
in the case of a two-way radio, that is, a device that does not allow the parties to speak simultaneously—also known as a walkie-talkie, mobile transceiver, two-way portable radio or two-way transceiver
when a device is used to make a 9-1-1 call
However, these portable devices and display screens must:
be integrated into the vehicle or mounted on a bracket, whether detachable or not, attached to the vehicle
be placed so as not to obstruct the driver’s view, interfere with driving, or prevent the operation of equipment or reduce its efficiency and in a manner that does not present a risk of injury in an accident
be positioned and designed in such a way that the driver of the road vehicle or cyclist can operate and consult it easily
Using a cell phone or another portable electronic device, or consulting a display screen without complying with the rules for its installation and use, or handling it in any way, while driving, automatically leads to:
First offence: $300 to $600
Repeat offence (within a two-year period): double the minimum fine, or $600
immediate licence suspension in the case of a repeat offence (within a two-year period):
First repeat offence: 3 days
Second repeat offence: 7 days
Third repeat offence: 30 days
5 demerit points
Earphones or headphones
The law allows only drivers of road vehicles to wear a headphone or earphone in only one ear, in order for the driver to hear the sounds of the surrounding environment. It is strictly prohibited to wear headphones or earphones in both ears.