First Road Rules Under Ontario’s Bill 31 Roll Out September 1, 2015
Ontario drivers will face stiffer penalties and fines for breaking the rules of the road beginning Tuesday September 1, 2015. Ontario’s Making Ontario Roads Safer Act amendments will come into effect tomorrow. The amendments address distracted drivers, safety when it comes to cyclists on the roads, and changes to the “Slow down, Move Over” laws.
Highlights of Bill 31 include:
1. Distracted Drivers – fines will be increased to $490 and three demerit points for drivers engaged in distracted driving. Novice drivers will be given a minimum 30-day suspension if caught engaging in distracted driving activities including using a cellphone to talk or text.
2. Dooring of Cyclists – fines will be increased to $365 with three demerit points. Drivers will also be required to leave a one-metre distance when passing a cyclist. Failure to do so will result in a $110 fine and two demerit points for dooring a cyclist. A fine of $180 and two demerit points will be levied against drivers who fail to leave a one-metre distance when passing a cyclist in a community safety zone.
Cyclists are not exempt from changes to the Making Ontario Roads Safer Act. Cyclists who do not have proper lighting on their bicycles will incur a $110 fine.
3. Slow Down, Move Over for emergency vehicles that are stopped along the road to assist will now include tow trucks with flashing amber lights. Drivers are currently required to slow down and move over to the next lane to avoid any possible contact with emergency vehicles or stranded motorists. Drivers who fail to move over will be faced with a $490 fine for the violation.
Additional Changes to Bill 31 – Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act.
In addition to the changes slated for September 1, 2015, the Bill will also have phased in changes that will occur in 2016 and into 2017. These changes will include:
– Effective January 1, 2016, drivers will be required to yield the whole roadway to pedestrians who cross at school and pedestrian crossings.
– In the Spring of 2016, out of province drivers caught by red light cameras can be charged by municipalities.
– In the Fall of 2016, there will be new drug-impaired penalties that will be similar to those of alcohol-impaired drivers.
– In the Spring of 2017, licence plate denial for drivers will include those drivers who fail to pay fines under the Provincial Offences Act associated with driving without insurance, speeding, careless driving and illegal turns.
Young Drivers of Canada is reminding drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to be mindful of their role when it comes to ensuring Ontario roads are the safest they can be.