Fifth Anniversary of Act II

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This month marks the fifth anniversary of my retirement and I thought this would be a good milestone to take a pulse on how my second act in life has been evolving.

In my blog post titled “Practising What I Preach” on November 14, 2011, I’ve listed several retirement goals focusing on some of my greatest passions in life such as short-haul travel, theatre and blogging. A check mark against all three although I went on more long-haul trips than I liked – Milan, Paris, Rome, the Greek islands, Ephesus, Madrid, Istanbul, London, Prague and Vienna in addition to North American sojourns such as Quebec City, Montreal, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and, of course, Naples, Florida. In addition to being a continued staunch supporter of The Stratford Festival, I’ve also made it occasionally to a couple of plays produced by The Shaw Festival, Canadian Stage and Soulpepper. It also went without saying that all my trips to London and New York included a West End or Broadway performance respectively.

I could only claim half a check mark for blogging because I managed to continue with this blog regularly without fail, but could not find time to continue with my other two. Since 2007, I’ve been sharing my insights on marketing to baby boomers via boomerwatch.ca. Throughout the years, business associates and friends from my previous life have renewed their acquaintances with me after accidentally discovering my blog on the Internet. Whether they were compliments or criticisms, I’ve always enjoyed their feedback. Funny enough, I’ve also had a few chuckles whenever I received news releases from public relations firms touting their clients’ services and products. Now that I’m on the other side as part of the social media, I can see what information is relevant and which efforts are plain “marketing speak.” Mainstream media, too, continue to be intrigued by boomers and when they decide to dedicate a special report on this demographic, they very often come to me as a resource and I’ve enjoyed sharing my thoughts with them via telephone or email interviews.

Check marks also against my learning and snowbird goals. I didn’t end up studying “Love and Relationships in Shakespeare” because the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies eventually cancelled the course due to lacklustre response. Instead, I spent two years learning a new language – after attending classes at both The Spanish Centre and the University of Toronto, I now have an intermediate level of comprehension in Spanish.

Although I’ve spent every other January in Naples, Florida, my enthusiasm as a snowbird has been gradually waning. The impact of global warming has made Florida a less desirable place for winter vacation – last January, for instance, was the wettest winter month ever in South West Florida and we were hit by three tornadoes!

Apart from continuing as a Liturgical Minister at my local parish, I also took pride in helping two very dear American friends with their respective marketing and web projects. However, volunteering and giving back to the community are never enough and it is my intention to aim higher with my efforts in the coming years.

Upon retirement five years ago, I said that nothing would give me greater satisfaction than mentoring the younger generation. In addition to offering advice when sought by former colleagues, I’ve also conducted a number of career information sessions for a few millennials. It’s always rewarding to see many of my former proteges, many of whom continue to seek my advice, moving on and achieving great success. I believe that you are always remembered not by what you’ve accomplished, but by what you’re leaving behind.

The greatest joy that retirement brings is the boundless freedom to do anything I like – the freedom of time with preferably no more alarm clocks to set in the morning, setting the pace of each day to my own liking with no more time sheets to complete; the freedom of choice to embark on any activities and hang out with whomever I like without the necessity to network or “shoot the breeze” anymore; and the freedom to pursue personal passions such as travelling to overseas destinations in off-peak seasons and going to movie theatres on weekdays to beat the crowds. The challenge of having so much freedom all of a sudden is that I have to constantly ask myself to slow down. When every day could be treated as a weekend, I try to savor every moment I have to enjoy life – eat well, exercise regularly, appreciate the arts and enjoy the company of quality friends – and only focus on one thing at a time. No more multi-tasking, stress, deadlines and multiple appointments!

What surprises me most after five years of retirement is my continued hunger to learn. I’ve always been an avid reader throughout my life, but ever since retirement, I’ve read even more books than before. From classics to biographies to economic and foreign policy books, I’ve become a ferocious reader with my Kindle! If there is one goal that I’m adamant to keep throughout my retirement years is my determination not only to remain relevant but, as much as possible, to be ahead of time. So, not only do I read both The Globe and Mail and The New York Times (via my Kindle subscription) from cover to cover on a daily basis, but I also watch most of the newscasts from all major networks whenever possible. I prefer in-depth analyses and op-ed pieces to quick updates from web-based media such as The Huffington Post. I’m proud to say that there is hardly any new pop culture or business phenomenon that I’m not familiar with. Simply put, I’ve got the insatiable desire and curiosity to learn at middle age which is a typical characteristic of baby boomers.

So when fellow boomers ask me about how to happily retire, my response is usually short and simple: assuming that everybody has achieved financial independence when they retire, one should have a variety of friends and lots of personal interests in order to enjoy retirement life. It’s not about how to kill time, but rather how to make time work for you so that you can enjoy the most out of every single activity you embark on every day without stress and obligations. Just remember: retirement is not the end, but the beginning of a new chapter in life!

 

 

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America Has Picked Poison

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It’s been exactly a week that the whole world has still been digesting Donald Trump’s shocking win in the U.S. Presidential Elections. I went to bed at around 1 a.m. on elections night when Hillary’s loss was inevitable. On Wednesday, the day after the elections, together with many of my American, Canadian and Asian progressive friends, I felt despondent and depressed. It was a sad day for America, for democracy and for us women!

Six months ago, I was so confident of Hillary’s win that I booked my condo’s party room and a caterer for an all-women celebration party to take place on the evening of November 11. I figured that a celebration on elections night would have been impossible due to how late usually the voting stations closed and the time difference between the West and East coasts. I also thought that two days after elections night would have been perfect because that would have given us one day to catch up with our sleep and in the very low probability of Hillary’s loss, I could still have canceled the party and caterers with 24 hours’ notice.

In spite of FBI Director James Comey’s announcements regarding the so-called new evidence that might be linked with Hillary Clinton’s email investigation, twice within two weeks leading up to the elections, all mainstream media, pollsters and political pundits still predicted that Hillary would have a huge win. The New York Times‘s editorial and OpEds in the week leading up to the elections not only predicted that Hillary would be the winner, but began speculating on who President Clinton would pick as members of her cabinet. Even The Globe and Mail followed the same train of thought. On the day before the elections, the reputable statistics-driven news website FiveThirtyEight, which never got their predictions wrong in previous Presidential elections, forecast that Hillary’s chance of winning was 71.4 percent versus Trump’s 28.6 percent.

Only two people were right with their predictions – journalist Henry Louis Mencken about a century ago and filmmaker Michael Moore in July 2016. Mencken said in The Baltimore Evening Sun, on July 26, 1920, “As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.” That day has finally come some 96 years later!

Michael Moore first predicted Trump’s victory in July during an interview on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher. He repeated his prediction on his website, writing: “This wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full-time sociopath is going to be our next president. President Trump.” In an open letter titled, “Midwest Math, Or Welcome To Our Rust Belt Brexit,” Moore said Trump will win the hearts of voters in the Upper Midwest by attacking Clinton’s stance on free trade and policies that have “royally screwed the people of these four states – Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.” Moore was bang on even though he said never in his life has he wanted to be proven wrong more than he did four months ago.

The world’s biggest nightmare eventually happened as a bombshell – not only did Trump win, but he managed to sweep the swing states as well as break the Democratic firewall in traditionally blue states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin! I went to bed on Wednesday morning with a broken heart and a last image of John King’s electoral map on CNN before I switched off my TV – a sea of red against patches of blue. I woke up just in time to watch Hillary’s concession speech. It was difficult to hold back tears but I didn’t lose it.

What really got me was that this election’s results have made me lose faith in the mainstream media, in pollsters and in the U.S. electorate! How could everybody be so wrong? In spite of Trump’s lewd remarks and his track record of sexually groping women, Hillary Clinton was unable to galvanize female voters any more than previous Democratic nominees. According to The Globe and Mail based on exit polls conducted by Edison Research on behalf of a consortium of U.S. media organizations, women voted for Hillary at a similar rate to their support for President Obama in 2012. They gave her a 12-point margin, 53 percent to 41 percent. Among her own demographic group, white women, 53 percent voted for Trump while 43 percent voted for Hillary. Trump’s distasteful remarks and allegations of inappropriate touching did not seem to have hurt him at all with that demographic.

In spite of Trump’s blatantly racist remarks and his promise to build a wall on the border with Mexico and crack down on immigration, Hillary’s support among Latino voters actually declined slightly at 65 percent compared to 71 percent for President Obama in 2012. Hillary dominated with black voters, tallying 88 percent versus Trump’s eight percent. But it was still a decline compared with the 2008 and 2012 elections, when African Americans supported Obama at 95 percent and 93 percent respectively.

Hillary didn’t do that badly with young people, but could not match the excitement generated in previous campaigns by President Obama or perhaps even Bernie Sanders. At 55 percent among 18-29-year-olds, she trailed President Obama’s 2008 numbers by more than 10 percentage points. Boomer and seniors voters, aged 45 and up, were solidly for Trump, but at rates comparable to the results for Mitt Romney in 2012.

With so many retirees in Florida, more than one in five voters are over 65 and voted 57 percent to 40 percent in favour of Trump. The youngest group, the Millennials, opted for Hillary at 63 percent versus 27 percent for Trump. But this group only constituted 10 percent of electors in Florida.

There was no surprise that the divide between urban and rural was a big part of the national result. In cities larger than 50,000 people, Hillary won 59 percent of the vote, while her share declined to 45 percent in suburbs and 34 percent in smaller or rural communities. Even though white people may compose a declining share of the U.S. population, they still make up by far the largest group, and they were key to Trump’s victory – white people favoured Trump by a margin of 58 percent to 37 percent. His margin among whites without a college degree, 67 percent to 28 percent, is the largest since the election of 1980.

Another surprise came when everybody thought that Trump’s victory represented a revolt of the economically marginalized. But, in fact, Hillary had a health lead among lower-income voters. Those who earn less than $30,000 voted for Hillary by a margin of 53 percent to 41 percent over Trump. Trump led at all levels of annual income above $50,000. Who would have thought that his margin was largest at the middle-income level, $50,000 to $100,000?

We can analyse why Hillary lost to the most minute detail after the elections, but according to early exit poll results, 42.1 percent of eligible American voters stayed at home and only 57.9 percent voted. If these early numbers stay the same during the final tallying, the voter turnout was slightly higher than the 57.5 percent in the 2012 Presidential election. Hillary’s numbers continue to rise among the popular votes, but they did not matter because Trump won convincingly in the electoral college votes. The polling industry is facing difficult times right now having been proven so wrong over and over again – Trudeau’s win in the Federal elections in Canada last year, Brexit and now the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections!

Among the many mea culpas from the mainstream media, the most convincing excuse I’ve heard so far is that their arrogance has led them to underestimate Trump’s chances of victory. Jonathan Kay, Editor-in-Chief of The Walrus magazine, explained on CBC’s The National earlier this week that the entire mainstream media considered Trump and his crazy remarks as a side show which, in fact, had so tragically taken over as the main show. The media’s arrogance also led them to totally miss what the American people have been saying. The mainstream media, most of whom are progressive liberals, underestimated the anger of white American voters. They might have sent reporters to the Rust Belt and the swing states, but they were not really listening! Once again, the coastal states of the Eastern Seaboard and California do NOT represent America and Trump’s win was a wake-up call.

I believe that Van Jones of CNN best summed up the biggest reason for our despondence after the elections – how could parents wake up the morning after Trump’s victory to explain to their kids why a bigot, a bully, a misogynist and a rapist has won the elections to become the 45th President of the world’s most powerful country? With his victory, America has just lost its moral compass – perhaps Trump was right when he once said during the campaign that “I could stand on New York’s Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I still wouldn’t lose any voters!”

But the fight for democracy, equality for all and women’s rights must go on! As Kate McKinnon, who played Hillary Clinton on Saturday Night Live, said after singing “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, “I’m not giving up and neither should you.” Vermont  Senator Bernie Sanders also advocated a positive approach, “What you do now is get heavily involved in the political process. When millions of people stand up and fight back, we will not be denied.”

Already, the American Jewish Committee and the Islamic Society of North America have teamed up to form a new national group of leading Jewish and Muslim Americans – The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council – to jointly advocate on issues of common concern. Americans are also pouring cash into organizations that could be under threat during the Trump administration, or that support minorities that could be the target of hate crimes. Forbes magazine reported that the American Civil Liberties Union pledged to contest Trump if his administration follows through on campaign pledges to deport undocumented immigrants, ban the entry of Muslims, and punish women for abortions. Since Trump’s win, the organization and its affiliates have seen more than 33,000 donations totaling over US$1.9 million to aid its fight. The fight for moral justice has just begun. Let’s hope that our U.S. neighbours down south will show Trump and the world that America is much better than this ugly election!

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Checklist For Canadian Snowbirds

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It’s that time of the year again! Fall has suddenly arrived without any warning and the Farmer’s Almanac has warned of a very severe upcoming winter for Canada. Many Canadian snowbirds are getting ready to drive or fly south in November to escape the harsh winter and many won’t return until next April or May.

Most financial institutions and insurance companies offer tips for snowbirds prior to their departure to the U.S. The Canadian Snowbird Association, a not-for-profit organization that positions itself as the voice of travelling Canadians, also offers its members tips ranging from vaccinations, medications, vitamin supplements, camper vans, taxes, vehicle insurance, Florida highway traffic, to the use of credit cards while in the U.S.

A brand new website called snowbirdadvisor.ca, launched five months ago, also provides “the Canadian Snowbird’s Checklist – Everything You Need to Do Before You Go.”  According to the website’s President, Stephen Fine, “There’s a lot to think about when you’re leaving for four to six months each winter. We provide snowbirds with a complete checklist detailing everything you need to think about including travel insurance, booking flights, preparing your home and vehicle and updating all of your documents.” The website positions itself as the one-stop online resource for Canadian snowbirds who can sign up on the website to become members for free and receive exclusive snowbird tips, tools, offers and services.

As a part-time snowbird myself, I’ve glanced through the various checklists from difference sources and below are the most useful top 10:

  1. Renting in Advance: Book as early as possible. Most long-term rentals in snowbird destinations are booked a year in advance, often by people who rented them last season. Useful websites include VRBO.com and HomeAway.com.
  2. Travel Documents: Make sure your passport and/or Nexus card don’t expire until well after you return. I would recommend that Canadian snowbirds enter their Nexus card instead of their passport as their travel documents when checking-in with airlines for boarding passes because the former documentation would qualitfy them for a much shorter security line-up for TSA PreCheck boarding.
  3. Driver’s Licence and Health Card: Check your provincial health card and driver’s licence to make sure they don’t expire before you return.
  4. Vehicle Registration and Insurance: Many snowbirds bring their own cars to the U.S., so if you choose to do so, it is imperative that you ensure your vehicle registration and insurance are up-to-date.
  5. Insurance Policy and Emergency Contact Card: Bring a copy of your travel medical insurance policy and the emergency contact card your insurer provides you with.
  6. Banking: Make sure all your credit cards (both Canadian and U.S.) don’t expire while you are away. Set up online banking and bill payment so that you can do all your financial transactions online while you’re out of the Canada. However, be extra careful about where you get your WiFi when you’re in snowbird destinations to protect yourself from hackers and internet thefts.
  7. Home Insurance: Most home insurance policies require every other day inspection by someone while you’re out of your home. Also, turn off all your water supply and drain all pipes before you leave home.
  8. Mail and newspapers: Arrange for someone to collect your mail or have it held at the Post Office.If you have physical newspaper subscriptions, consider changing them to online subscriptions instead or suspending them before you go.
  9. Cell Phone Plan: Research and buy a value-for-money cell phone plan best suited to your use in the snowbird destination. Most cell phone providers such as Rogers and Bell Mobility offer U.S. monthly travel passes for voice, texts and data. Negotiate with your provider should you plan to stay longer than one month.
  10. U.S. Property Insurance: Whether you own a home or rent a property in the U.S. during the winter months, you might still need some sort of home/property insurance while you are there. Talk to your real estate agent, your insurance agent or your U.S. landlord.

The rest is just common sense while travelling outside the country. For further tips and more detailed information, you might find the following resources useful: www.snowbirds.org, www.snowbirdadvisor.ca, www.readersdigest.ca, www.insurancehotline.com, www.sunlife.ca, www.rbcbank.com and www.bluecross.ca.

 

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The Future Of Independent Aging

Photo credit: businessinsider.com

Photo credit: businessinsider.com

I read with interest The New York Times article published yesterday on The Future Of Retirement Communities: Walkable and Urban. It pointed out that even though most of us currently drive everywhere, more older people these days are looking for a community where they can enjoy a full life without a car. Aging in place now means a lot more than your home – it’s more like aging in community where people can walk or take transit to just about everything they need in an urban neighbourhood.

According to the publication, retirement communities in the U.S. have been slow to change in the age of the Fitbit and a growing cohort of active, engaged retirees eager to take their daily 10,000 steps. Eighty percent of retirees still live in car-dependent suburbs and rural areas, according to a Brookings Institution study. The study indicated that developments for independent retirees typically come in two flavours: isolated, gated subdivisions or large homes on golf courses, often in the same bland package of multiple cul-de-sacs. Both require driving everywhere, which is a problem for those who either do not want to drive or cannot.

The future of independent aging lies more in the walkable urban space – from existing neighbourhoods in places like Brooklyn or San Francisco, to newly built housing within city and suburban cores from coast to coast. In the U.S., new senior housing projects are being built with the goal of keeping retirees active and enabling them to get out and walk to basic services. Researchers found that walkable, mixed-use environments could possibly reduce disabilities many face as they age. Pedestrian-friendly communities promote walking to a grocery store, cafe or other services like a dry cleaner or library.

However, many developers pointed out that urban retirement communities are difficult to build within cities which require extensive infrastructure improvements, including wider sidewalks, bike lanes, more public transportation options and longer pedestrian signal walk times. There is also the question of affordability – walkable areas in mature cities may be unaffordable for retirees who are interested in reducing their overall housing costs. According to Walkscore.com, some of the most walkable U.S. cities, such as New York, San Francisco and Boston, are also the most expensive. Canadian retirees face the same conundrum as their U.S. counterparts. Walk Score ranked Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Mississauga and Ottawa as the top five most walkable large cities in Canada. Real estate prices, particularly in the top two cities, are also sky high. Of the 1,200 neighbourhoods scored, 30 of them are “Walker’s Paradises” with a Walk Score of 90 or higher. Toronto also has more “Walker’s Paradises” neighbourhoods (17) than Vancouver (3).

The world-renowned urbanist Richard Florida, who has been working and living in Toronto for a while now, said that Toronto has the potential to further evolve into a city with increased community access. However, Florida also argued that many of Toronto’s progressive residents and politicians have also done extremely little to improve the quality of life in lower-income areas. In an interview with Urban Toronto last December, Florida called for a “virtual moratorium on road-building,” arguing that the perpetuation of an automobile culture hinders a city’s creative capacity, with little exchange of ideas and culture occurring when people are sitting in their cars, and not engaging with life on the street. In spite of his frustration with the “narrowmindedness” of some politicians and residents, Florida also expressed his optimism about the future of Toronto’s real estate development. “The best and most forward-thinking developers now realize that the key to building real estate value in the long term comes through creating good neighbourhoods, and not just good buildings,” he said. Even though he did not specifically mention his vision for the city with the aging population in mind, one would just assume that smart developers are thinking of retirement communities when building for the future.

For aging retirees living in the suburbs, there is always the good news of the latest development of self-driving cars. According to research on mobility for the aged conducted by MIT’s AgeLab, the autonomous vehicle is integral to the future independence of older people. Last month, the U.S. government has also become an ally for self-driving cars by officially announcing guidelines for the booming industry of automated vehicles. The New York Times reported that the Obama administration promised strong safety oversight, but sent a clear signal to automakers that the door was wide open for driverless cars. “We envision in the future, you can take your hands off the wheel, and your commute becomes restful or productive instead of frustrating and exhausting,” said a senior official of the National Economic Council, adding that highly automated vehicles “will save time, money and lives.” The Council and the United States Department of Transportation released the first guidelines in September, which outlined safety expectations and encouraged uniform rules for the nascent technology.

Tesla, the electric-car maker, has already sold tens of thousands of cars with a self-driving feature known as Autopilot. Uber, the leader in ride-hailing service, began trials in Pittsburgh last month to let its most loyal customers order rides from driverless cars through their smartphone app. Google has also been testing self-driving cars in its hometown, Mountain View, California, and very soon, in Stratford, Ontario, as well.

Whether it’s retirement-community living in walkable cities or dependence on self-driving cars in suburban areas, the future looks promising for independent aging!

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It’s Time To Criminalize Distracted Driving

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New numbers from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) show that distracted driving has recently surpassed impaired driving in automotive fatalities. According to a CTV news report last month, for the first time in Ontario, deaths from distracted driving are double that of impaired driving. So far this year, there have been 38 fatalities due to inattention behind the wheel compared to 19 who have died due to impaired driving. Statistics released last year by the OPP found there were 69 distracted driving fatalities on OPP-patrolled roads compared to the 45 impaired-driving fatalities. In B.C., the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia found that in 2014, 64 people were killed in impaired-driving related fatalities compared to 81 who were killed due to distracted driving.

Figures from Saskatchewan Government Insurance also show that 26 people were killed and nearly 600 injured in more than 3,300 collisions related to distracted driving in 2014, compared with 46 fatalities attributed to alcohol.

The problem was so serious that in Toronto, public educational billboards for a made-up funeral home with the morbid message, “Text and Drive. Wathan Funeral Home,” were mounted on the Gardiner Expressway near the Exhibition grounds, and another at Albion Road at Steeles Avenue. The black and white billboards were designed by Toronto ad agency john st. and donated by Cieslok Media as their contributions to spreading the word about a problem that people think they are invincible to.

British Columbia and Ontario have banned the use of hand-held communications and electronic entertainment devices while driving. Alberta expands its legislation beyond hand-held electronic devices to include other forms of driver distraction, including eating, drinking, reading, writing and personal grooming. Fines for distracted driving currently range from up to $145 and four demerit points in Quebec to $579 in Nova Scotia and up to $1,000 and three demerit points in Ontario. In B.C., a ticket for a first offence is $543 and $888 for the second offence, with four demerit points.

According to Global, a spokesperson for the Federal Justice Department said most provinces and territories (with the exception of Nunavut) have penalties for distracted driving and criminal charges can be laid when cases reach a level of dangerous or careless driving. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, dangerous driving causing bodily harm carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, while dangerous driving causing death carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

In response to mounting media and safety advocacy groups’ pressure about the need to criminalize distracted driving, Federal Transportation Minister Marc Garneau said earlier this month that distracted driving is a “big problem” and promised to raise the issue with his provincial counterparts in a Toronto meeting yesterday. Unfortunately, Transport Ministers from across Canada seemed to have mixed feelings about this subject and would not commit to a consensus about an action plan.

Most people think that only millennials are culprits in texting and driving but, in fact, I know a lot of baby boomers who are equally guilty of this dangerous habit. I believe that not only should we criminalize distracted driving, but we should also introduce roadside “textalyzer” tests in the aftermath of a collision just like what New York is proposing. Under a new road safety bill being proposed in the New York State legislature, all drivers in the state would automatically consent to having police digitally scan their phones using roadside “textalyzer” tests. The technology is the digital equivalent of the breathalyzer tests used on drunk drivers, enabling cops to detect whether drivers were texting or posting on Facebook while driving.

The proposed bill also states that any “refusal to submit a mobile telephone or personal electronic device to the field testing will result in the revocation of the driver’s licence or permit,” effective immediately. Depending on how the testing works, that could also mean surrendering your device’s PIN or encryption password to the cops and simply trusting their technology to only extract information relevant to distracted driving.

New York was the first state to ban the use of cellphones while driving and has a reputation for pioneering road safety regulations later adopted across the country. According to Governor Andrew Cuomo, motorists have seen an 840 percent increase in tickets for texting while driving since 2011. The New York Times reported that in the U.S., 14 states currently prohibit the use of hand-held devices by drivers, and 46 ban texting, with penalties ranging from a US$25 fine in South Carolina to US$200 fines elsewhere, and even points assessed against the driver’s licence. A handful of states, including New York, have strengthened their original bans, which in 2014 adopted tougher sanctions that include a 120-day suspension of a permit or a licence suspension for drivers under 21, while a second offence calls for a full-year suspension.

It might still take a while to fine-tune the “textalizing” technology and making sure that privacy and civil liberties are protected at the same time. But it is time to take a more serious approach in Canada too to stopping drivers who continually engage in reckless behaviour, such as texting, using apps and browsing the web on their mobile devices while behind the wheel. Until distracted driving is treated as seriously as drunk driving, the former behaviour will continue to cause more fatalities on the road!

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