WiFi coming to Canadian cars by 2016

Sep 26, 2013 | News

By Rebecca Vettese

distracted drivingThere is a corporate plan afoot to get Canadians driving the information superhighway by 2016.

Rogers Communications and Sprint said in a press release Thursday they plan to connect Canadian cars to the Internet via WiFi-enabled touchscreen systems while they’re on the road. The system boasts features like security, vehicle diagnostics, weather and traffic updates, and even sports entertainment.

“Canadians want to be connected from anywhere, at any time,” said Mansell Nelson, Vice President of Advanced Business Solutions at Rogers. “Sprint Velocity will bring to Canada the ultimate connected car experience on the road, with a combination of smartphone, tablet and in-dash capabilities.”

Ontario police told Humber News on Thursday they are less than thrilled about the technology boost.

Peel police issued a crackdown on distracted drivers in September and have seen a drop in talk and text offenses as a result. Division 11 reported 48 talk and text charges in the campaign’s first week and 38 offenses in the second.

Considering how high the numbers are now, Const. Lilly Fitzpatrick is wary of any new tech that might take eyes off the road.

“Are there some drivers that will handle that safely, sure,” Fitzpatrick said of vehicle WiFi systems. “But the majority of drivers? No.”

Sgt. Dave Woodford of Ontario’s Highway Safety Division said WiFi systems should be treated like any other form of distracted driving.

“The WiFi itself is nothing, it’s the device they’re using that creates the offense,” Woodford told Humber News.

“People have to be responsible,” he said.

Fitzpatrick recommended listening to the radio, getting information before leaving home or pulling over for weather, traffic or other updates.