New Ontario Legislation to clamp down on bad driving, in effect tomorrow

Published: September 20, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Ontario is ready to beef up its driving laws and clamp down on bad drivers. The province plans to tighten punishments for law breaking motorists by increasing licence suspensions, jail time, and fines.

In a press release, the Government of Ontario says it will bring new fines and other measures starting Sept. 21. Legislation has been introduced in an effort to combat bad driving, which many groups is becoming epidemic in Ontario and costing lives of drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Distracted driving is among the main concerns. The Ontario Provincial Police announced recently that distracted driving now kills more people than impaired driving and speeding combined. Under current legislation, distracted driving carries a maximum fine of $1,000 and three demerit points. Starting tomorrow, novice drivers (M1, G1, or G2) will have their licence suspended, with escalating suspensions thereafter. The maximum fine has been raised to $3,000.

Careless drivers are also a target for Ontario’s new legislation. Specifically, those who injure or kill someone in a collision. The province will now place a $2,000 to $50,000 fine on the charge, alongside suspension of up to five years, and up to two years in jail. This is an increase from the current maximum fine of $2,000, licence suspension up to two years, and six months jail time.

Advocacy groups have long pressed the government to be harsher with drivers. They believe current laws have been too lenient and the punishments rarely match the severity of the crime.

Full changes being implemented:

  • 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

Expanding the use of rear flashing blue lights for enforcement and emergency vehicles.