Ontario Passes Legislation to Improve Road Safety

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The Ontario government passed the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act to help ensure that the province’s roads are among the safest in North America.  Items in the new legislation that may be of interest to OTA members, include:

  • Allowing, once regulations are passed 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; allow for more comfortable sleeper berths for drivers; and accommodate the use of ‘moose bumpers’ that help prevent animal strikes to the front of tractors (special permits are currently available for these vehicles while regulations are under development);
  • Expanding 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;
  • Allowing the Motor Vehicle Inspection Station program to move to a contractual model and enable the procurement of a third-party contract administrator (timelines to address are in 2017 timeframe)

In addition to the information passed along to the membership through OTA’s outreach session earlier this year on the Road Safety Bill, OTA will keep the membership informed on all developments as it relates to B-trains and the MVIS program and other issues of importance to the trucking industry.

In addition, the new act will:

  • Increase fines for distracted driving from the current range of $60 to $500 to a range of $300 to $1,000, assigning three demerit points upon conviction, and escalating sanctions on convictions for novice drivers
  • Apply current alcohol-impaired sanctions to drivers who are drug impaired
  • Introduce additional measures to address repeat offenders of alcohol impaired driving
  • Require drivers to wait until pedestrians have completely crossed the road before proceeding at school crossings and pedestrian crossovers
  • Increase fines and demerits for drivers who ‘door’ cyclists, and require all drivers to maintain a minimum distance of one-metre when passing cyclists where possible
  • Help municipalities collect unpaid fines by expanding licence plate denial for drivers who do not pay certain Provincial Offences Act fines.
  • Allow a broader range of qualified medical professionals to identify and report medically unfit drivers and, clarify the types of medical conditions to be reported.

Some of the new measures will come into force over the coming months while others may take up to two years to implement. These varying timelines reflect the need to pursue supporting and complementary regulatory amendments.  Below are approximate timeframes for addressing items contained in the Road Safety Bill.

By summer 2015:

  • Public awareness campaign for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers about upcoming changes included in Road Safety Bill

By Fall 2015:

  • Distracted driving demerits and fines
  • Cycling amendments (dooring, 1 metre rule)
  • Slow down, move over (for tow trucks)
  • Chrome Yellow regulations for decommissioned school buses

By Winter 2016

  • Collection of defaulted Provincial Offences Act fines (red light camera fines for out of province offenders).

By Spring 2017:

  • Collection of defaulted Provincial Offences Act fines (plate denials)
  • Drug impaired driving sanctions
  • Modernizing the Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS) program

For complete details of what is included in the new legislation, please click here.

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