Distracted driving penalties increase under new Ontario law this summer

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Ontario has finally turned up the heat on distracting driving with major increases in fines and demerit points. The fight against distracted driving took a better turn earlier this summer with the introduction of fines of up to $1,000 and three demerit points.

“The OPP fully supports this new legislation and recognizes it as an important enhanced deterrent aimed at changing unsafe driver behaviour and reducing the distracted driving- related fatalities,” Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Vince Hawkes told the Toronto Star.

Here are the many benefits the Ontario Roads Safer Act helps ensure safety for all drivers:

  • Increase fines for distracted driving from the current range of $60 to $500 to a range of $300 to $1,000, assign three demerit points upon conviction, and escalate sanctions for novice drivers who are convicted.
  • Apply current alcohol-impaired sanctions to drivers who are drug-impaired.
  • Require drivers to let pedestrians completely cross the road before proceeding at school crossings and pedestrian crossovers.
  • Increase fines and demerit points for drivers who “door” cyclists, and require all drivers to maintain a minimum distance of one metre when passing cyclists where possible, as well as allow cyclists to use the paved shoulders on unrestricted provincial highways.
  • Help municipalities collect unpaid fines by expanding licence plate denial for drivers who do not pay certain Provincial Offences Act fines.
  • Allow more qualified medical professionals to identify and report medically unfit drivers and, clarify the types of medical conditions to be reported.

“If they do it, and they’re caught doing it, there will be consequences,” said Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca told CBC news. “But if they’re going to do it, they have to understand how dangerous it is, how they’re putting themselves, the passengers in their car, pedestrians and cyclists, at really, really horrific risk.”

If you were not at fault for the car accident, you may be able to seek damages from the insurance company of the individuals responsible. We offer a free, 1-hour consultation to discuss the particulars of your accident and how we can help maximize your compensation.