March 17, 2014 (Toronto) – Today, the Ontario Government introduced new legislation and amendments to the Highway Traffic Act to increase fines and introduce demerit points for distracted driving convictions.
“This is wonderful news,” said Ralph Palumbo, Ontario’s Vice-President, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). “Distractions are a factor in many collisions, and we need to convince people that the practice of texting or using the phone while driving is socially unacceptable and inherently dangerous.”
Palumbo added, “We are particularly happy to see the addition of demerit points for distracted driving as this approach has been proven to change driver behavior more than fines alone.”
If passed, the proposed Keeping Ontario’s Roads Safe Act and supporting amendments to the Highway Traffic Act will make highways and roads safer by:
Increasing fines for distracted driving from a range of $60 to $500 to a range of $300 to $1,000 and assigning three demerit points upon conviction;
Increasing fines for drivers for “dooring” cyclists from a range of $60 to $500 to range of $300 to $1,000 and raising the demerit points from two to three;
Requiring all drivers to maintain a distance of one metre when passing cyclists; and
Requiring drivers to yield the whole roadway to pedestrians at school crossings and pedestrian crossovers.