New road safety rules in effect September 1

Ontario strengthening penalties for distracted driving; protecting cyclists

ONTARIO — On September 1, 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.

Penalties for distracted driving will include an increased set fine of $490 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.

The “dooring” of cyclists will carry an increased set fine of $365 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 a $110 set fine and two demerit points. Cyclists who don’t use the required bicycle lights and reflectors face a higher set fine of $110.

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. School buses will be more recognizable—they will now be the only buses permitted to be chrome yellow.

Ensuring Ontario’s roads and highways are safe is part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario, a press release from the province states. The four-part plan includes investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.