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These are possible election issues

Bill FoxBy Bill Fox/Columnist

1. New laws for distracted driving are set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.  Are they enough?  The fines for distracted driving would increase from a maximum of $1,000 up to $2,000 on a second conviction and up to $3,000 for third or subsequent incidents, as well as six demerit points for multiple offences.  Offenders would also see their licence suspended for three days on a first offence, seven days after two convictions, and 30 days for third and further convictions. Why are there not even higher fines for distracted driving?  For a second conviction drivers should see jail time, or perhaps time working in a morgue.

There’s no question that distracted driving has deadly consequences. Ontario Provincial Police say distracted driving continues to be the number one cause of accidents in the province. People may not think of it in the same category as drunk driving, but it’s actually worse. Police said that in the first 8 months of 2017, approximately 4,700 crashes were due to speeding, and 1,158 were due to inebriated drivers.  According to police, distracted drivers, on the other hand, were to blame for approximately 6,390 collisions.

The Ontario government labels distracted driving as anything that takes your attention away from the road. That includes reading, eating, putting on makeup, using your phone and even using your GPS.

2. How much money do cell phone companies contribute to Elections? Should there be laws limiting cell phone use for those under 19? Consider that the average teen spends nine hours a day using electronic media, according to a surveyby Common Sense Media. That survey also found that half of teenagers felt addicted to their phones, and 78 per cent checked them hourly or more. Multiple studies link addictive relationships with mobile devices to mental health problems in teens, including depression, anxiety, and disrupted sleep. As more and more is written about how these miraculous devices are purposely designed to keep us coming back for more, parents have good reason to be concerned.

Neuroscience tells us that tweens’ and teens’ developing brains make them especially vulnerable to both addiction and mental health crises.

In 2017, the state of California issued guidelines for limiting exposure to radiofrequency energy from cell phones. Safe practices include:
• While sleeping, keep your phone a few feet away from your body;
• When streaming audio or video, keep your device away from your body and head;
• If talking on the phone, use a headset rather than holding the phone close to your head;
• In a fast-moving vehicle or on rapid transit, use airplane mode because your phone puts out more radiofrequency energy to maintain a connection as it switches from one cell tower to the next.

Ontario would do well to follow California’s lead.

3. There are thousands of new homes being built on what was Winfield Farm property, yet Simcoe St. is still one lane in each direction.  Wouldn’t it seem more sensible to expand Simcoe St. to four lanes BEFORE building all these new homes?

4. How did Peterborough get their own TV channel before Oshawa?

5. Why did Ontario cut back on daily Phys. Ed. Classes?  Back in the day, daily Phys. Ed. Classes were mandatory.  Is this related to the increase in obesity in young people today?

As always I can be reached at bdfox@rogers.com.