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Making Ontario's Roads Safer

Backgrounder

Making Ontario's Roads Safer

Ministry of Transportation

Proposed legislative and supporting regulatory amendments to the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) include:

Distracted Driving

To reduce collisions, injuries and fatalities as a result of distracted driving, proposed amendments include:

  • Increasing the current fine range of $60 to $500, to $300 to $1,000.
  • Assigning three demerit points upon conviction of a distracted driving offence.
  • Adding distracted driving to the existing list of novice drivers' conditions.

Alcohol and Drug Impaired Driving

Proposed amendments would introduce additional measures to address alcohol impaired driving by:  

  • Requiring all drivers who repeatedly drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeding any of the thresholds in the HTA tocomplete an alcohol education program followed by an alcohol treatment and monitoring program.
  • Extending the current Reduced Suspension with Ignition Interlock Conduct Review Program to repeat offenders.

The proposed new rules for drug impaired driving will mirror sanctions in place for alcohol-impaired driving including:

  • Escalating roadside suspensions of three, seven, 30 and 90 days.
  • Remedial education or treatment requirement.
  • An ignition interlock condition.
  • A seven-day vehicle impoundment.

Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety

Currently at school crossings and pedestrian crossovers, drivers must yield only half of the roadway to pedestrians who are crossing. If passed, the proposed legislation would improve pedestrian safety by:

  • Requiring drivers to yield the whole roadway to pedestrians at school crossings and pedestrian crossovers.
  • Amending the HTA to allow for new pedestrian crossing devices on low-speed and low-volume roads as requested by municipalities.

The proposed legislation would respond to municipal requests, stakeholder input and recommendations from the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario to promote cycling as active transportation and improve cyclist safety by:

  • Allowing cyclists to use the paved shoulders on unrestricted provincial highways to promote safer opportunities to cycle.
  • Supporting cycling in urban areas by allowing municipalities to create contraflow bicycle lanes to provide more direct routes and connectivity. A contraflow lane is a lane in which traffic flows in the opposite direction of the surrounding lanes as would be the case on a one-way street.
  • Increasing the fine range for convictions of dooring of cyclists from $60 to $500, to $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, where practicable.
  • Increasing the maximum fine from $20 to a set fine amount that falls in the range of $60 to $500 for not using required bicycle lights and other reflectors/reflective material; and permit the use of flashing red lights as a safety feature on bicycles.

Medically Unfit Drivers & Services for Drivers with Medical Conditions

Amendments to the HTA are proposed in response to requests from the medical community to strengthen the Mandatory Medical Reporting program to improve road safety by better identifying unfit drivers of any age. If passed, the proposed legislation will enable future regulations to:

  • Clarify mandatory and discretionary medical reporting requirements.
  • Allow for reporting by additional, qualified medical professionals.
  • Improve customer service by allowing drivers with medical suspensions to retain their driver's licence card for identification purposes and for when they are eligible to drive again.

Truck, Vehicle and Bus Safety   

Proposed legislation, if passed, would allow B-train double trailer combinations to be extended from 25 metres to 27.5 metres to accommodate new technologies required to meet air quality and greenhouse gas emissions standards, and include more comfortable sleeping areas for drivers.

In addition, the legislation proposes to expand the current Slow Down, Move Over requirement for motorists beyond only emergency vehicles with red or red and blue flashing lights to include tow trucks that are stopped at roadside incidents while their amber flashing lights are activated.   

If passed, the proposed legislation would allow the Motor Vehicle Inspection Station Program to move to a contractual model and enable the procurement of a third-party contract administrator.

To address ambiguous wording, the proposed legislation would also clarify that only school buses can be painted chrome yellow.

Supporting Municipalities

If passed, the proposed legislation will expand licence plate denial for drivers who do not pay Provincial Offences Act (POA) fines for offences such as speeding, improper lane changes, illegal turns, driving with no insurance and careless driving.

The proposed legislation would also improve municipalities' ability to charge and prosecute individuals from out-of-province who run red lights and fail to stop for school buses.

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