New rules of the road in effect September 1

Monday, August 31, 2015

Tougher penalties for distracted driving; new rules to protect cyclists, tow truck drivers, school bus passengers

Pick up truck driver with hardhat

On September 1, 2015, road safety rules will be updated to include tougher penalties for distracted driving, as well as new rules to protect cyclists, tow truck drivers, and children riding school buses. 

Penalties for distracted driving include an increased set fine of $490 and three demerit points upon conviction. Note that novice drivers receive a minimum 30-day suspension for the first conviction and longer suspensions for subsequent convictions.

"Ontario’s roads are among the safest in North America, and we want to keep it that way," says Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation. "We will continue to work hard to curb distracted driving, protect cyclists, and improve the safety of tow truck operators and children riding school buses."

Keeping cyclists safe

The "dooring" of cyclists will carry an increased set fine of $365 and three demerit points upon conviction. New rules will also require drivers to leave a one-metre distance where possible when passing cyclists, or they may face the penalty of a $110 set fine and two demerit points. Cyclists who don't use the required bicycle lights and reflectors face a higher set fine of $110.

Stay alert around tow trucks and school buses

Drivers must now leave a safe passing distance between themselves and tow trucks stopped on the roadside to provide assistance. Failing to slow down and move over for a tow truck can result in a set fine of $490. School buses will be more recognizable -- they will now be the only buses permitted to be chrome yellow. All fines listed include the victim fine surcharge and court costs.

Fast facts 

  • Cover of Road to Safety Safe Driving Program brochureIf current collision trends continue, fatalities from distracted driving may exceed those from drinking and driving by 2016. 
  • Research indicates that a driver who uses a cell phone is four times more likely to be in a crash.
  • A novice driver is one with a G1, G2, M1, M2, M2-L or M2-M licence. 
  • An estimated 1.2 million Ontarians ride a bicycle on a daily basis.
  • Drivers failing to stop for a school bus can be fined up to $2,000 and six demerit points for a first conviction. 
  • A bike must have a white front light and a red rear light or reflector if you ride between ½ hour before sunset and ½ hour after sunrise, and white reflective tape on the front forks and red reflective tape on rear forks.

Resources

Distracted driving - Ministry of Transportation

Road to Safety - Implementing a Safe Driving Program. Free workplace health and safety information package includes guide, worksheet, assessment and checklist.

Winter Driving - Safety Meeting Talk. PDF Downloads.

Related

Safety groups join forces to raise awareness about distracted driving

Werner Herzog documentary on distracted driving receives more than 2 million YouTube views

Predicting collisions: Do you have the telltale signs of a bad driver?

How social norms put the brakes on bad driving habits

White out! Winter driving tips – on and off the job

Tips for safe winter driving on logging roads

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