Ontario to Introduce New Distracted Driving Fines Maxing at $50,000
In Canada’s boldest attempt yet to crackdown on distracted driving, the province of Ontario is ready to introduce new distracted driving penalties, including a fine of up to $50,000 for drivers whose carelessness results in death.
While her promise to lower car insurance premiums in Ontario by 15% by August 2015 didn’t come to fruition, Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal government are hoping this new legislation on distracted driving, spearheaded by Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca, can be introduced to the province this fall.
Ontario currently has some of the toughest distracted driving penalties in Canada (see chart below).
Despite the above deterrents, more than 450 pedestrians and cyclists have been killed in vehicular collisions in Ontario in the past five years (The Globe and Mail).
A National Post report detailed the proposed changes as follows:
- A 2nd conviction of distracted driving would see the fine increased to $2,000, up from the current $1,000. For 3rd convictions and beyond, the fine would be $3,000.
- Offenders with multiple distracted driving convictions would receive six demerit points, up from the current three.
- First time distracted driving offenders would have their license suspended for three days, which would increase to seven days on the 2nd offense and 30 days suspension for the 3rd offense and beyond.
- Careless driving causing death or bodily harm would lead to a license suspension of up to five years, fines ranging from $2,000 - $50,000, up to two years of jail time and six demerit points.
- Fines for not yielding to pedestrians would double, from a current maximum fine of $500 to $1,000.
Assuming this new legislation passes and comes into effect this fall, it will be interesting to monitor how Canada’s other provinces and territories react to Ontario’s lead.
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