Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cell Phone Ban: Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse

David Cowley, an American and an Easton, Maine resident, believes that there should be signs at the New Brunswick (Canada) border warning motorists about the province's distracted driving law. Cowley has said that his wife was driving their vehicle to an automotive dealership in Woodstock (NB) last week for repairs, when she was pulled over and fined $172.50 for talking on her cell phone. Cowley stated she had no idea she was breaking the law.

COMMENT: Cowley has complained to the RCMP, the ministers of tourism and safety and to the premier's office. Clearly, he feels that his wife was the victim of selective traffic enforcement, yet one thing you can say about Canadian law enforcement: it is consistent, predictable and equally applied.

New Brunswick's ban on cellphones, texting and other hand-held devices, while driving, came into force on June 6. It has been extensively advertised on radio and TV in Maine. He has also been told that road signs to notify motorists of the ban have been ordered by the province, but are not yet installed on highways.

Americans often forget that when traveling to a foreign country, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Perhaps I'm too detail-oriented, but whenever I travel abroad and know that I'll be driving, I ensure that I've fully researched the traffic laws. I also check on- line to determine whether there is a ban on cellphone use while driving.

It took me less than a minute to type in "cell phone bans in New Brunswick" to find the following site that said stated cell phones cannot be used while driving in New Brunswick, effective June 6, 2011:

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