MTO discusses recently announced road safety legislation

Published: September 20, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has expanded on its previously announced road safety legislation. The new laws will include the implementation of a new offence, which will punish careless drivers for causing death or bodily harm.

Steven Del Duca, Ontario Minister of Transportation, and the province’s and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Eleanor McMahon, spoke in Toronto about the plans. Earlier in the week, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynner and Del Duca introduced new plans that will be implemented in the fall.

At the announcement, they said the legislation “increase the consequences and costs for those who drive under the influence of drugs, including cannabis.”

In a statement on Wednesday, MTO said if the laws are passed, they will help to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe and reduce the number of injuries and deaths on Ontario’s roads. The legislation focuses on reducing distracted, dangerous, and impaired driving.

Among the legislation measures are:

  • A new offence for careless driving causing death or bodily harm with penalties that include fines, licence suspension and imprisonment;
  • Tougher penalties for distracted driving, such as using a cellphone while operating a vehicle, including higher fines, more demerit points and license suspensions;
  • Increased penalties for drivers who fail to yield for pedestrians and escalating fines for drivers who are convicted of multiple pedestrian-related offences within a five-year window; and
  • Expanding the use of rear flashing blue lights for enforcement and emergency vehicles.

“Ontario is taking action to reduce the number of people killed by impaired, distracted and dangerous drivers,” Del Duca said. “These measures will help keep some of our most vulnerable road users safe and help us drive home the message that dangerous, impaired and distracted driving is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated.”