Bill 31, also known as “Making Ontario Roads Safer Act” comes into effect September 1, 2015. The Act is designed to help make Ontario roads safer for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists through increased fines and the implementation of new safety precautions.
Distracted Driving encompasses anything that may distract a driver while operating a vehicle but is often the charge for those using a hand held device while driving, especially texting.
The current distracted driving fines range from $60.00 to $500.00. The new law, effective September 1, 2015 will increase the fine to $490 minimum and three (3) demerit points. For those who are novice drivers, they will also receive a 30 day suspension. The maximum fines for distracted driving may now also reach up to $1000.00 depending on the circumstances.
The potential fines for a Dooring event are currently $60.00 to $500.00 which will change on September 1, 2015 to a $365.00 set fine and three (3) demerit points.
Currently the law with respect to bicycle lights provides a fine of $20.00 if the bicycle has an improper light. This is to change on September 1st to a fine of $110.00.
The last big change will have a significant affect on drivers. The new legislation now requires drivers to leave a one metre distance when passing cyclists. The failure to do so will result in a fine of $110.00 and two (2) demerit points, or a $180.00 fine and (2) demerit points for failing to leave one metre passing distance in a community safety zone.
Dooring is a major issue for cyclists in urban area. Doorings occur when an occupant of a vehicle fails to identify a cyclist before opening a vehicle door causing the cyclist to crash either from attempting to avoid the vehicle door or being hit by it.
Alcohol and Drugs
Drivers who are found to be driving under the influence of drugs will now face the same penalties as those who have been found driving under the influence of alcohol.
Move Over Laws
Currently drivers must slow down and move over for emergency vehicles stopped at the side of the road. As of September 1, 2015 drivers must also slowdown and move over for tow trucks that are stopped roadside. Failing to do so will result in a minimum fine of $490.00.
These changes are just the beginning of new laws coming into place under the Making Ontario Roads Safer Act. The next round of changes is anticipated to be in force as early as January 2016.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not legal advice. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstance.