New Rules for Ontario’s Roads
September 1 brought forth new changes to make roads a little safer in Ontario. Drivers are now faced with a new set of traffic laws thanks to Ontario Bill 31, the "Making Ontario Roads Safer Act," passed just three months ago in June.
The new rules of the road come with serious penalties for drivers who don’t obey. Penalties can mean immediate suspensions for distracted drivers (G1 or G2 license), and multiple demerit points plus significant fines for fully licensed drivers who don’t comply. If you ignore these changes, it'll cost you more than just your hard-earned money.
With children already in their second week of the new school year these new policies are timely. According to an article from Global News, on average, 2,400 students are seriously injured and more than 30 are killed in road accidents every year.
Here are the five new traffic laws that now affect every-day driving in Ontario:
Distracted driving: Think you’re being sneaky checking your device while no one is watching? If you’re caught looking at or talking on your phone or texting while driving, you will face much bigger fines and more demerit points than the previous fine of $200. Upon conviction, those found guilty of distracted driving will face an increased set fine of $490 and three demerit points. Drivers with G1 or G2 licenses could have their permits suspended on the spot. It pays to have a hands-free in your car now.
Pedestrian crossovers: Taking effect in January 2016, drivers will have to fully stop until pedestrians have completely crossed the road at pedestrian crossovers and school crossings before they continue on their way. About half of all fatal traffic accidents involving pedestrians occur at intersections, the Ministry of Transportation said. The new law focusing on making roads safer for
Passing cyclists: Cyclists are now to be given at least one metre of room by drivers wherever possible. No fine has currently been set for breaking this rule, but will be announced shortly. Motorists who open their vehicle door into the path of a cyclist without checking will face a set fine of $365 and three demerit points.
The “move over” law: All drivers must now slow down and move over to the next lane when they see a stopped emergency vehicle with its red and blue flashing lights or a stopped tow truck that has flashing amber lights. The fine for breaking these rules is three points and a $490 fine.
Alcohol and drugs: Anyone caught driving with drugs in their system will now face the same penalties as drunk drivers, the Ministry said. These include a one-week vehicle impoundment and 90-day license suspension. More than 45% of drivers killed in Ontario were found to have alcohol or drugs in their system. Here are five reasons why you don’t want a DUI in Ontario.
If you have any questions about the new traffic laws that are now in effect in Ontario, visit the MTO’s official website.