Recent amendments to the Highway Traffic Act mean that this fall there will be new rules for Ontario’s drivers to obey. Drivers who do not obey the new laws do so at the peril of their wallets, if not their lives. In an effort to reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities a number of fines have been increased and a number of changes to existing laws introduced. Want to know more? Give a read.
Bill 31, the Transportation Statue Law Amendment Act (Making Ontario’s Roads Safer), introduces the following changes to the Highway Traffic act.
- Distracted driving – now the fines will be a range of $300 to $1,000 (from $60 to $500) and will cost you three demerit points when convicted.
Related read: When Driving Thousands of Pounds of Steel, Focus on the Road
- If you are driving under the influence of drugs the sanctions will match as if you are driving while drunk. Bill 31 also introduces additional measures to address repeat offenders.
- Coming up to a crossover (pedestrian activated crosswalks)? If there are pedestrians on the crosswalk, drivers must now wait until the pedestrians have completely crossed the road before proceeding.
- Drivers who ‘door’ cyclists will have increased fines and demerit points. We also recommend cyclists increase their safety as well by being aware of parked cars and the potential of having a door open in front of them.
- Drivers must give cyclists a one metre distance when passing.
- Fines for cyclists who do not have the required reflective equipment on their bikes jumps from $20 to range between $60 to $500. Cyclists can now use flashing red lights on their bikes.
Related Read: Ontario’s Guide to Safe Cycling
- Currently, if there is an emergency vehicle at the side of the road drivers must slow down and move into another lane when approaching. A change has been implemented to require drivers to do the same for tow trucks with their lights flashing.
Of course the more traffic convictions you receive the more expensive your car insurance will be.
Related Read: Factors That Help Reduce Your Car Insurance Costs
Why are These Changes Necessary?
- By 2016, collision trends point to distracted driving being the number one cause of collisions and fatalities.
- In Ontario, 45% of drivers killed had some combination of drugs or alcohol in their system.
- 1 in 5 motor vehicle related fatalities in Ontario is a pedestrian. Almost half of all the pedestrians killed occur in accidents that happen at intersections.
These new laws will come into effect in the fall of this year (2015), but getting used to the new rules now means you’ll less likely get a ticket in the future.
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Thanks for reading and safe travels.