New tabled legislation cracks down on distracted drivers in Ontario


(Photo Minesweeper/ Wikipedia)

Liberal Transportation Minister Glen Murray introduced the Keeping Ontario’s Roads Safe Act yesterday,the Toronto Star reported. If passed, fines and penalties are going to go up for distracted drivers. This proposal comes just one month after Annemarie Bonkalo, chief justice of the Ontario Court of Justice, passed a judicial order that increases fines for distracted driving. The order came into effect today. Being caught using a cellphone on the road will cost up to $280. That’s $125 more than the fine was yesterday. Murray’s tabled safety bill is a more comprehensive act. Here are five changes in the proposed legislation:

  • Distracted drivers could be hit with three demerit points and face fines ranging from $300 to $1,000.
  • The same penalties will be applied to “dooring” cyclists
  • Keep a one-metre distance when passing cyclists
  • Motorists will have to yield to tow trucks, the same way they do for emergency vehicles with amber lights
  • Drivers will have to wait for a pedestrian to fully cross a crosswalk before moving ahead

Cyclists aren’t off the hook, either. Those biking without required lights and reflectors will be fined from $60 to $500. “This is an all-party bill and I hope it will quickly gain the confidence of this house,” Murray is quoted to say in a CBC article. For this bill to pass, the minority Liberal government needs the support of one other party.

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