As we discussed in a prior article, Bill 31, also called the “Making Ontario Roads Safe Act,” was approved on June 2, 2015. Since then, it has been signed into law and went into effect on September 1, 2015.
If you are not aware of the new traffic laws, this article will discuss the changes relevant for most drivers.
Drivers are not allowed to dial, email, text or talk on their hand-held phones and other hand-held communication and entertainment devices while driving. If they are caught, they will face a fine of $490 and three demerit points. If drivers contest their ticket or receive a summons, they may face a fine up to $1,000.
The new traffic laws require drivers to maintain a distance of one metre wherever possible, such as when passing bicyclists. Drivers will also face heftier fines if they open the door of their vehicle into the path of cyclists. Drivers may be fined $365 and three demerit points for such a violation.
Drivers often proceed as soon as pedestrians are no longer in front of their vehicles, but may still be walking in the crossover. In an attempt to make roads safer for pedestrians, drivers are required to wait until the pedestrians have completely crossed the road at school crossings and pedestrian crossovers before moving forward.
Before the passing of the new traffic laws, drivers impaired by drugs faced a lesser penalty than drunk drivers. Bill 31 provides that drivers impaired by drugs will now face the same penalties as drivers impaired by alcohol.
Impaired drivers’ licenses may be suspended for between 3 and 90 days. In addition, their vehicles could be impounded for an entire week.
It is vital that Ontario drivers in Kingston and Ottawa follow the new traffic laws to keep the roads safer for all motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.