When it is an electronic handheld device.
For those that live outside of Manitoba I’m talking about section 215.1 of Manitoba’s Highway traffic act, or the cellphone law. It’s often cited or referred to by our media as handheld electronic devices. But that’s not really correct.
You see, according to the highway traffic act this Ipod Nano is NOT a hand held electronic device:
It’s not a cellular telephone, so it doesn’t qualify under 215.1(1) a
It doesn’t include a telephone function, so it doesn’t qualify under 215.1(1) b
It isn’t capable of transmitting e-mail or text, so it doesn’t qualify under 215.1(1) c
And it isn’t defined in the regulations.
But this ipod touch, is it a hand held electronic device?
It doesn’t fall under 215.1(1) a or b or the regulations. But is is capable of receiving and transmitting text messages when connected to wi-fi. So does this mean it is a hand held electronic device for the purpose of the act? Most cars don’t have wi-fi, so is it not? What if my passenger has a cellphone and I am using my ipod touch, is it then? Or does it have to be tethered?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way condoning texting and driving, but if I can legally hook up my ipod nano and control my music on that while I am driving, why can’t I hook up my Ipod touch or my phone to do the same thing?
Under the HTA, it is an offence for me to hook up my phone to my car audio and use the phone to search for music while stopped at a light. But is isn’t if I am using my Ipod Nano. Why?
I’m doing the same thing, so why the difference?
I can only use a cradled hands free phone in my car by pushing one button to receive a call and one button to receive. But I can use the keypad in my dash or on the screen to dial out. Why the difference?
It goes to show how terrible this section of the act is. In fact, police have another section of the act that covers this. It’s called section 188 (1), drive carelessly.
We need to stop passing laws that are knee jerk and not thought out. We need laws that have been given thought and make sense. Yes, it will be a huge change, but shouldn’t our laws meet that criteria to start with?
Oh, and don’t get me started on the “No parking, Bus stop” parking infraction listed on city parking tickets.