Making Ontario's Roads Safer

Archived Backgrounder

Making Ontario's Roads Safer

Ministry of Transportation

New Measures For Young Drivers

In 2005, Ontario had the safest roads of any province or state, yet still 766 people were killed and 3,619 seriously injured on our roads.

Teenaged drivers are nearly 3.5 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than drivers aged 30 to 34.

To prevent tragedies on our roads, the McGuinty government has introduced legislation and regulations that, if passed, would better prepare our young and novice drivers to drive safely, and would tackle dangerous driving behaviours, such as driving drunk and driving with a suspended licence.

Giving Young and Novice Drivers the Right Start

Ontario's Graduated Licensing System (GLS) works: only 14 years after this program began, fatalities and injuries among teen drivers have declined by almost 25 per cent. Now the Ontario government is moving to make GLS even more effective.

To give new drivers the right start, Ontario plans to improve its GLS with new driving restrictions and a longer learning time period. This will help new drivers develop the right skills and experience they need for a lifetime of safe driving. These improvements include:

  • Increasing the length of time drivers spend at the G1 and G2 levels. Currently, novice drivers can obtain a full G license in as little as 20 months. Under the proposed legislation, the minimum would be 30 months.
  • Replacing the current night-time restriction on the number of young passengers a teen G2 driver can carry with an all-day restriction.
  • Introducing sanctions that get tougher each time a novice driver violates graduated licensing restrictions, receives a conviction that results in demerit points or a receives a court-ordered suspension. These drivers would receive, upon conviction:
    • First instance - 30-day licence suspension;
    • Second instance - 90-day licence suspension;
    • Third instance - the driver must return to the start of the graduated licensing program (G1).

Graduated Licensing Requirements: Current and Proposed

G1 RequirementsCurrentProposed
G1 Length1 year, reducible to 8 months if the driver completes an approved driver education course and presents the certificate to the Ministry One and a half years (18 months), reducible to 12 months if the driver completes an approved driver education course.
G1 Passengers Accompanied by a fully licensed driver, who has been licensed for four years, and a blood alcohol concentration of less than 0.05, in case he/she needs to drive the vehicle. Same
Ensure the accompanying driver is the only other person in the front seat. Same
G1 Road Restrictions Cannot drive on Ontario's "400-series" highways or on high-speed expressways such as the Queen Elizabeth Way, Don Valley Parkway, Gardiner Expressway, E.C. Row Expressway and the Conestoga Parkway. May drive on these roads if accompanied by a qualified driving instructor Same
G1 Nighttime Restriction Cannot drive between midnight and 5:00 am Same
Requirements for Both G1 and G2 Current Proposed
G1 and G2 BAC Level G1 and G2 drivers must drive with zero BAC Zero BAC for all drivers up to and including 21.
Sanctions for violating GLS Restrictions For each conviction for violating a G1 or G2 restriction a novice driver receives a 30-day license suspension. There are no repeat offender provisions. Introduce escalating sanctions for any combination of repeat violations of G1/G2/M1/M2 restrictions or convictions for pointable HTA offences within a 5-year period. Novice driver receives a 30-day licence suspension for the first conviction, 90-day suspension for the second conviction and would have their licence cancelled for the 3rd conviction. The person would lose all credit for any time spent GLS including any time discount and would have to re-apply to enter G1. Once they enter G1 again they would complete all program requirements as if they were a new, never-licenced driver.
G2 Requirements Current Proposed
G2 Length Minimum of 12 months. Minimum of 18 months.
G2 Passengers Teen G2 drivers can carry passengers from midnight to 5 a.m. as follows:

First six months: G2 drivers 19 or under can carry only one passenger aged 19 or under.

After the first six months and until the G2 driver earns a full G licence or turns 20, three passengers aged 19 or under.

There are exemptions for family members or an accompanying driver who meets the requirements of an accompanying driver in G1.
Prohibit teen G2 drivers from carrying more than one passenger aged 19 and under all day during the first year of G2;

There would be exemptions for family members or an accompanying driver who meets the requirements of an accompanying driver in G1.

Enforcing Zero Tolerance for Young Drinking Drivers

Drivers aged 19 to 21 are over-represented in drinking and driving collisions. Ontario wants to put a stop to this trend by making it illegal for any person aged 21 or under to drive after drinking any alcohol. Young drivers in all licence classes will be required to have a zero blood alcohol concentration (BAC) whenever they are behind the wheel.

New Measures For Suspended Drivers

An estimated three-quarters of all suspended drivers continue to drive.

The proposed legislation will help get these dangerous drivers off our roads by giving police the power to immediately impound their vehicles for seven days - at the roadside.

Suspended DriversCurrentProposed
Driving without an Ignition Interlock Device (I.I.) Upon conviction, the driver of a non-commercial vehicle is fined:
  • $200-$1,000 and*
for a commercial vehicle, driver is fined:
  • $200-$20,000*
* ignition interlock period is extended by 12 months for a first-time offender who was initially subject to a on-year ignition interlock condition;
and by 36 months for a second-time offender who was initially subject to a three-year I.I. requirement.
Same.
Vehicle owners who knowingly permit a driver having an I.I. licence condition to operate a vehicle that is not equipped with an I.I. device may also be charged.

Vehicle Owner - if not the driver (non-commercial)
  • $200-$1,000
Vehicle Owner - if not the driver (commercial)
  • $200-$20,000
Same fines apply plus 7-day vehicle impoundment (regardless of vehicle owner knowing that the owner knowing that the driver has an I.I. condition)
Driving with BAC over 0.08 or Fail to provide a breath sample 90-day administrative licence suspension and charge under the Criminal Code

No vehicle impoundment provisions
Same plus 7-day vehicle impoundment
Suspended Drivers (for some HTA offences, excluding defaulted fine but including non-payment of family support) Upon conviction, the driver is fined:
  • $1,000 to $5,000 (first offence)
  • $2,000 to $10,000 (subsequent offences)
Plus six months additional suspension and up to six months possible imprisonment
Same plus 7-day vehicle impoundment

Measures For Impaired Drivers

Drinking and driving is still a factor in about a quarter of all road fatalities every year. To help police get drunk drivers off our roads, the proposed legislation will also allow police to immediately impound for seven days vehicles being driven by convicted impaired drivers who do not have a court-ordered ignition interlock installed.

CurrentProposed
Zero Blood Alcohol Level Zero BAC applies only to novice drivers within G1 and G2 of the Graduated Licensing System. Zero BAC would apply to novice drivers within G1 and G2 of the Graduated Licensing System AND to all drivers, in all licence classes up to and including age 21
When reinstating drivers license after being suspended for blowing in the Warn Range (0.05 - 0.08 BAC) There is no fee or penalty when reinstating one's driver licence after a 12 hour suspension for drinking and driving in the Warn Range $150 Administrative monetary penalty would be levied for those reinstating their driver's licences after receiving escalating suspensions for blowing in the Warn Range; these escalating sanctions were created under Bill 203 and will be operationalized in min-2009
Opportunity to take a Second Breath Test HTA Sec. 48 (6), which has not changed under Bill 203, allows the opportunity for a "second breath test" when a driver blows .05 BAC and over at roadside. The second breath test has to be performed on an approved instrument. Amend Sec. 48 (6) to provide that the second breath test could be taken on a second roadside screening device or an approved instrument.

Other Measures

Ontario is also proposing a number of important legislative measures and regulatory amendments that will help keep Ontario's roads safe, including:

  • Encouraging safer driving behaviour by raising fines for serious driving offences, such as failing to stop for a red light, not wearing a seat belt and not moving over for emergency vehicles.
  • Recognizing power-assisted bicycles (also known as e-bikes) in legislation, and setting out powers to regulate their operating requirements.
  • A two-hour time limit for drivers who blow in the warn range and allowing a second breath test to be conducted on a roadside screening device.
  • Making school buses safer by adopting the Canadian Standards Association's proposed 2007 school bus vehicle standards
  • Permitting the use of child car seats and restraints for children with medical conditions.

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Driving and Roads