Ontario has set new rules and penalties to hammer down on careless and distracted driving with the objective of improving road safety for all road users including pedestrians and cyclists. Here’s what you need to know:
• On average, one person is killed on Ontario’s roads every 17 hours. In 2014, pedestrians and cyclists made up approximately 25 percent of Ontario’s road fatalities.
• While drunk driving remains in the top-five killers on Ontario’s roads, the province’s most recent roadside survey found that drivers who tested positive for drugs were more than twice the number who tested positive for alcohol.
• The proposed legislation builds on existing measures Ontario has introduced to improve road safety including tougher impaired, distracted and street racing laws.
• In May Ontario passed legislation to protect the most vulnerable such as pedestrians and cyclists, by giving municipalities more tools to address speeding. These tools include the ability to set reduced default speed limits and use automated speed-enforcement systems on roads with speed limits below 80 km/h that are designated as community safety zones or in school zones.
• In June 2015, Ontario passed legislation to toughen penalties for offences such as distracted driving.
• The Ministry of Transportation hosted a road safety symposium in June with municipalities and many road safety partners to discuss a broad range of road safety concerns that helped shape the government’s proposed actions to help to save lives on Ontario’s roads.
What You Need To Know:
• Careless drivers who cause bodily harm or death will face a maximum of $50,000 in fines, two years in jail, a five-year license suspension and six demerit points.
• Distracted drivers will face a license suspension of three days (a first in Canada), a maximum $1,000 fine and escalating penalties for further offences.
• Drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians will face a maximum $1,000 fine and four demerit points.
• Commercial drivers will be subject to a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy, with a license suspension of three days for violations.