The old saying that “the only constant in life is change” certainly proves true for Ontario roadways. The last few years have seen everything from a growing number of HOV lanes, to the legalization of cannabis, and increased awareness around the dangers and implications of distracted driving.
With the start of 2019, we’ve been introduced to some of the stiffest penalties drivers have ever seen for distracted and impaired driving.
Here’s what you need to know about the 2019 Ontario driving laws
According to the definition provided by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation it’s “illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial or email using hand-held cell phones and other hand-held communications and entertainment devices” while driving. This includes mobile phones, laptops, and portable music players. However, distracted driving can also include applying makeup, eating, playing with in-car tech, and in short, anything that takes your eyes off the road and hands off the wheel.
Fines for distracted driving now include:
- First offence: $1,000 fine and 3 day license suspension
- Second offence: $2,000 fine and 7 day license suspension
- Third offence: $3,000 fine, 30 day licence suspension, and six demerit points
Additional measures targeting novice drivers have also been implemented. Those with a G1 or G2 license convicted of distracted driving could face the following penalties:
- First and second convictions: 30-90 day suspension
- Third conviction: licence cancellation
Though driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has always come with high risks, with the recent legalization of cannabis our driving laws have been tested, resulting in the OPP and MTO taking a closer look and revising the penalties.
The most considerable change is that police officers are now allowed to demand a breathalyzer or saliva test from any driver, regardless if they suspect you are driving under the influence. In the event you refuse to take either of the tests, you will be fined $550.
Novice drivers are still required to maintain a zero blood alcohol level and have no presence of cannabis (or other drugs) in their system.
In addition to the changes mentioned above, drivers should also take note of other new laws and fine increases associated with driving-related offences, including the list below.
Other new fines:
- Not carrying driver’s license: $85
- Driving without insurance: $5,000 and license suspension
- Running a red light: $260, however if you’re in a community safety zone, the fine increases to $400
- Speeding (from 1-19km over): $2.50 per km/h over the speed limit, however if you are in a community safety zone, the fine increases to $5.00 per km/h
- Speeding (from 20-34km over): $3.75 per km/h over the speed limit, however if you are in a community safety zone, the fine increases to anywhere from $7.50-$12.00 per km/h
- Failure to come to a full stop at stop sign: $85
- Failure to stop for a school bus with red flashing lights: $400, for your first offence but it could be up to $2,000
- Failing to wear seat belt: $200
- Failing to buckle in a child under the age of 16 in accordance with Highway Traffic Act: $200
- Car pool lane violation: $110
Will these new laws help make our roadways safer? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.