Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Distracted driving fines on the rise

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The OPP would like to remind the public that on September 1st, 2015, the rules of the road will be updated to help keep Ontarians safe.

Changes include tougher penalties for distracted driving, new rules to protect cyclists and measures to ensure the safety of tow truck drivers and children riding school buses.

Distracted Driving: Penalties for distracted driving will include an increased set fine of $490 (includes victim fine surcharge and court fees), up to a maximum fine of $1000, and three demerit points upon conviction. Novice drivers will receive a minimum 30-day suspension for the first conviction and longer suspensions for subsequent convictions.

Keeping Cyclists Safe: The “dooring” of cyclists will carry an increased set fine of $365 (includes victim fine surcharge and court fees) and three demerit points upon conviction. New rules will also require drivers to leave a one-metre distance where possible when passing cyclists, or they may face the penalty of $110 (includes victim fine surcharge and court fees) and two demerit points. Cyclists who don’t use the required bicycle lights and reflectors face a higher set fine of $110 (includes victim fine surcharge and court fees).

Staying Alert Around Tow Trucks and School Buses: Drivers must now leave a safe passing distance between themselves and tow trucks stopped on the roadside to provide assistance. Failing to slow down and move over for a tow truck can result in a set fine of $490 (includes victim fine surcharge and court fees). School buses will be more recognizable — they will now be the only buses permitted to be chrome yellow.

The Ontario Provincial Police would like to remind the public that every driver has a responsibility to direct their entire attention to driving safely. Distracted driving refers to all forms of distracted or inattentive driving, such as adjusting a vehicle’s entertainment or GPS unit or stereo, eating and drinking, using a hand-held device, self-grooming or tending to children in the backseat etc. Drivers need to remember that the true danger to public safety lies in the distraction, not the device.

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