Drivers of Ontario need to take into account new changes that came into effect along with less lenient penalties. The new rules penalize distracted drivers and helps to protect cyclists & tow truck drivers. As per statistics, there have been more deaths from distracted drivers than impaired drivers. The police want to crack down and make sure our residents here in Ontario (Toronto & Vaughan included J) are safe!
Drivers seem to find themselves not only sending texts and checking their phones, but also dealing with fusy kids in the back of the car (it’s hard to ignore when your kids are going nuts, I know as a father of 2 small boys!), searching for your favourite radio station, eating a sandwich or just anything that removes a driver's eyes off the road. The police will look to ticket anyone that is not 100% focused on the road.
So, without further or due, here are the changes and Penalties!
1. Distracted driving
If convicted, the minimum fine is $490 (previously $280) and 3 demerit points.
2. Hitting cyclists or vehicles with door
Drivers must look first and open their door, if they don’t and cause an accident to a cyclist theres a minimum fine of $365 (previously $60 to $500) and 3 demerit points.
3. Passing cyclists
This one really got me and I am an avid cyclist! Where possible drivers must leave a minimum of 1 meter of space when passing a cyclist. Failure to do so will result in a fine of $110 and 2 demerit points. If drivers do this in a community safety zone fine goes up to $180! Many cyclists are all over the road so this will be a hard one for drivers to follow.
4. Bicycle lighting
Cyclists need proper lights and reflectors. Failure to have them results in a $110 fine (previously $20).
5. Tow trucks
Here in Ontario, all drivers must reduce their speed and merge to another lane giving space to an emergency vehicle that’s stopped. The rule has now been extended to tow trucks. If you do not slow down or move over you will face a $490 fine.
These rules are not out of this world. I believe Ontario is really trying to crack down on drivers who really disregard the safety on fellow residents. They do not want it to get out of control like many other places in the world. Regardless, these are the new rules and we must follow them!
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