Channel 19

Todd Dills

Driving while smoking: the cutting edge of in-cab distractions

| October 13, 2009

Not only did one truck driver in Ontario this weekend likely enter the history books as the first hauler ticketed for smoking in his cab in contravention of a provincial piece of legislation-turned-law called the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, he may well stand at the vanguard of the recent hyper-attention to in-cab distractions provided by the profusion of communications gadgetry.

Driving while smoking might well qualify as the next driving while texting.

As the Canadian newspaper of record the Globe and Mail reported, a 48-year-old London, Ontario-based hauler was slapped with a $305 fine after a police officer noticed him smoking as he pulled alongside the truck on the 401 near Toronto. In that story, in which a rep from the Ontario Trucking Association parsed the many exceptions to the no-smoking-in-workplaces (including vehicles) rule (which excludes from compliance drivers who actually own their own rigs and are sole proprietors of their trucking businesses), an Essex County police rep stated as a primary smoking danger not just the fact that it’s cancer-causing, is often likened to slow suicide, confers upon its contemporary practitioners the status of virtual pariah in some locales and other such unfortunates, but that, like driving-while-texting (DWT, of course), is unsafe simply as one among many in-vehicle distractions.

“You’re taking a hand off your wheel to light your cigarette,” she told the Globe and Mail. “Then you’re looking down to put your cigarette out, so you’re not paying attention….” I imagine that sounds pretty familiar. Follow this link for the full story.