If you were wondering when the province would crack down on careless and distracted driving, your hopes are coming true – Ontario is proposing a slew of new measures to bring tougher penalties for careless and distracted driving.
It’s no secret that roads in Brampton can be dangerous. According to the province, on average, one person is killed on Ontario’s roads every 17 hours. In fact, in 2014, pedestrians and cyclists made up approximately 25 per cent of Ontario’s road fatalities. Now, new measures are being introduced to improve road safety and protect our most vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists.
Here are the new, tougher penalties that have been proposed province-wide:
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.
If passed, the province says that these measures will protect pedestrians and cyclists and reduce the number of people killed or injured by impaired, distracted and dangerous drivers.
What’s more – the province wants to install cameras on school buses to capture the offence of illegally passing a school bus. Right now, that’s still in the consultation phases, but it would allow evidence to be admitted in court without a witness, a major – though beneficial – change to road safety.
“Impaired and distracted driving is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated,” said minister of transportation Steven Del Duca.
In an Ontario where drunk driving is one of the top five killers on Ontario roads, the province’s most recent roadside survey found that drivers who tested positive for drugs were more than twice the number who tested positive for alcohol, and in 2015, the province passed legislation to toughen penalties for offences like distracted driving, some would say it’s about time that the province takes action.
Ontario’s roads have actually been ranked the first or second safest in North America for the past 16 years, but clearly, they’re not safe enough.
According to the province, the proposed legislation builds on existing measures Ontario has introduced to improve road safety including tougher impaired, distracted and street racing laws. Further, the new measures layer on top of the ones the province introduced earlier this week to prepare for the legalization of marijuana.
Hopefully, the proposed measures will make a real difference on the roads in Brampton.
If passed, the new, tougher penalties will come into play this fall.