Ontario’s tough distracted driving laws to start in 2019

Published: November 22, 2018

Updated: December 3, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



Ontario’s cannabis legislation passed in 2017 ahead of the legalization of marijuana across Canada this year. While the new laws focus on cannabis, they also include new legislation for distracted driving. This week, the Ontario government has revealed the new laws will come into effect starting January 1, 2019.

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) says the Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act (Bill 174) will be enacted in 2019 and will aim to “strengthen the existing road safety laws.”

Under the upcoming laws, motorists caught operating their vehicle while phoning, dialing, emailing, texting, or otherwise using a hand-held device will be fined up to $1,000. Furthermore, offenders will also receive a three-day licence suspension and three demerit points.

MTO explains a hand-held device is a mobile phone or any other mobile electronic device. In an email to CBC News, Ontario minister of transportation, Jeff Yurek, said “safety is our top priority”. ” [The legislation] allows the province to address unsafe driving behaviours, including careless driving and impaired driving with tough new rules and penalties that will help improve road safety.”

“Ontario’s roads are among the safest in North America, but we also know distracted driving continues to be a serious issue,” Yurek said.

Drivers who continue to be caught will face escalating penalties. For a second distracted driving offence, motorists will receive a fine of up to $2,000, a seven-day licence suspension, and six demerit points. Those found distracted more than two times will receive a fine of up to $3,000 and will have the licence revoked for 30 days.