Ontario Cracking Down on Careless and Distracted Driving with Tough New Penalties

distracted driving texting

Ontario plans to crack down on careless and distracted driving with tough new rules and penalties that would help improve road safety and keep the most vulnerable road users – including pedestrians and cyclists – safe.

Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Eleanor McMahon, were in Toronto today to announce the tough new road-safety measures. They were joined by Han Dong, MPP for Trinity-Spadina.

The province plans to introduce new legislation this fall that, if passed, would help protect pedestrians and cyclists and reduce the number of people killed or injured by impaired, distracted and dangerous drivers. The proposed measures include:

A new offence for careless driving causing death or bodily harm with penalties that include fines, licence suspension and imprisonment

Tougher penalties for distracted driving, such as using a cellphone while operating a vehicle, including higher fines, more demerit points, and license suspensions

Increased penalties for drivers who fail to yield for pedestrians and escalating fines for drivers who are convicted of multiple pedestrian-related offences within a five-year window

Expanding the use of rear flashing blue lights for enforcement and emergency vehicles.
In addition, the province is consulting on the use of cameras on school buses that capture the offence of illegally passing a school bus, so that this evidence can be admitted into court without a witness.

For 16 years in a row, Ontario’s roads have been ranked either first or second safest in North America, but more can still be done. These strong measures add to recently-announced tough new penalties for those who drive under the influence of drugs, including cannabis.

On average, one person is killed on Ontario’s roads every 17 hours. In 2014, pedestrians and cyclists made up approximately 25 per cent of Ontario’s road fatalities.

While drunk driving remains in the top-five killers on Ontario’s roads, the province’s most recent roadside survey found that drivers who tested positive for drugs were more than twice the number who tested positive for alcohol.

The proposed legislation builds on existing measures Ontario has introduced to improve road safety including tougher impaired, distracted and street racing laws.

In May Ontario passed legislation to protect the most vulnerable such as pedestrians and cyclists, by giving municipalities more tools to address speeding. These tools include the ability to set reduced default speed limits and use automated speed-enforcement systems on roads with speed limits below 80 km/h that are designated as community safety zones or in school zones.

In June 2015, Ontario passed legislation to toughen penalties for offences such as distracted driving.

The Ministry of Transportation hosted a road safety symposium in June with municipalities and many road safety partners to discuss a broad range of road safety concerns that helped shape the government’s proposed actions to help to save lives on Ontario’s roads.


  1. I agree. Cyclists all want the same right to the road as cars, but don’t think they should have to follow the same rules as cars…Try stopping at a red light! If a car is in front of you in your lane, stop behind it, don’t squeeze up between it and the curb and then blow the red light because they’re no cars coming the other way, do you not realize that when the light turns green you’re the problem impeding the flow of traffic! May realize it but just don’t care? Also, bikes and e bikes are not meant to be driven on the road in the winter. Should be a by-law similar to the parking on streets by-law…From beginning of November to end of April you cannot ride bikes on city streets. Where are the safety concerns?

    • Bikes should not be on the road IMO. They should not be on the sidewalk either. Sault has done some steps in improving long overdue road repairs and other trails not accessable to motorised vehicles, but more needs to be done for cyclists. Major roadways in the city should have a bike designated area (GNR, Lake, 2nd line etc) created on the strip of land owned by the city on almost every property in between the road and sidewalk.

  2. How about cyclist squeezing in between car and curb, or flying by at less than 1 meter of stopped cars. Some also believe that they have a the right of way on sidewalks. So when is the crack down on cyclists coming? Rules have to go both ways.

  3. You know what’s more dangerous than distracted drivers? Reckless drivers! And there’s too many of them in this city, leave some god damn space, stop passing people aggressively and stop weaving in and out of traffic to get ahead you’re going to injure or kill someone!!!

  4. They need to crack down on drivers with dogs on their laps while driving. It is every bit as much of a distraction as fiddling with a cell phone. I saw a guy with 3 tiny dogs on his lap and shoulders the other day. How can you be a good driver doing that ?

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