The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. Transport Canada’s consultation process to seek solutions to the growing problem of driver distraction from an increased use of a variety of telematics devices is one that should be both lauded and viewed with a certain level of skepticism, especially when the department tries to link cell phone use with telematics devices. While Transport Canada is looking at non-binding memorandums of understanding with the various stakeholders in the automobile industry, it is also exploring the possibility of handing itself greater regulatory control over certain parts of the telematics industry. As the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) notes, this examination could lead to a greater understanding of the driver distraction issue and allow for better management in the future. But linking cell phones to telematics is misguided and the issue is really about responsible driving. There’s no question that inputting data into a navigation system and viewing the screen for the appropriate route to a particular location can take the driver’s attention away from the primary task of controlling a moving vehicle. But saying the government should have greater regulatory control over the design and manufacture of these devices, especially aftermarket devices, is shortsighted (see story in this issue). Any effective regulation has to be technology neutral as is the case with policies from Industry Canada and the CRTC, the wireless industry’s two primary oversight bodies. But Transport Canada appears to be singling out for possible regulation technology that can on one hand lead to great advances in the telematics industry, but may also lead to increased driver distraction. In that light, the issue should focus on better driver education and less on the regulation of devices. At this point, it is still unclear how the proposed regulatory measures would affect the telematics devices aftermarket and we won’t have any clear idea until the CWTA, with the support of its members, dissects the consultation document. But at first glance Transport Canada appears to be going where Industry Canada and the CRTC don’t and that is regulating some types of technology over others. While telematics may not be a huge industry in Canada at the moment, any unwarranted regulatory control over the industry could deal it a crippling financial blow.