Ontario proposing stronger penalties for careless and distracted driving

Sep 21 2017, 12:37 am

The Ontario Government is looking to crack down on careless and distracted driving by introducing tougher laws and penalties.

Part of the new laws would include creating a new offence for careless driving causing death or bodily harm, one which has a fine of up to $50,000 and imprisonment of not more than two years.

The province says that its plan would help improve road safety and keep the most vulnerable road users safe.

“Ontario is taking action to reduce the number of people killed by impaired, distracted and dangerous drivers,” said Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation, in a statament. “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.”

The government plans to introduce the new legislation this fall.

Besides the proposed careless driving offence, the province has also proposed tougher penalties for distracted driving, and increased penalties for drivers who fail to yield for pedestrians.

Currently, the fine range for a first offence for drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians is between $150 to $500, and involves three demerit points. The proposed new law would see an increase of the fine range to $300 to $1000 for the first offence, and four demerit points.

On average, one person is killed on Ontario’s roads every 17 hours, according to the province. In 2014, pedestrians and cyclists made up approximately 25% of Ontario’s road fatalities.

And while drunk driving remains in the top-five killers on the roads, Ontario’s most recent roadside survey found that drivers who tested positive for drugs were more than twice the number who tested positive for alcohol.

Earlier this week, Ontario introduced new drug-impaired driving penalties ahead of pot legalization.

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