New road rules in Ontario begin Tuesday that include stiffer fines for distracted driving and rules to help protect cyclists, students and tow truck drivers.
The provincial government says penalties for distracted driving will include an increased set fine of $490 and three demerit points upon conviction.
Drivers without a full license will receive a 30-day suspension for the first conviction for distracted driving.
The Ministry of Transportation says fatalities from distracted driving are projected to eclipse those from drinking and driving by 2016 and a driver who uses a cellphone is four times more likely to be in a crash.
People who “door” a cyclist — opening a car door that a cyclist crashes into — will carry an increased set fine of $365 and three demerit points upon conviction and drivers must now give cyclists a one-metre berth when passing them.
Drivers also face stiffer fines when passing too closely to stopped tow trucks and school buses.
In addition to stiffer penalties for distracted driving, increased driver and vehicle license fees also come into effect on Sept.1st. More information can be found here.
As well, the financial amount of damage during a collision requiring the involved drivers to report the crash to police increases on Tuesday to $2,000. The amount had been set at $1,000 since 1998.
If the amount is less than $2,000, the involved drivers must simply exchange their names, vehicle information, insurance information, and either work it out amongst themselves, or go through their respective insurance companies.
This change does not apply to collisions where injuries are involved. In those cases, regardless of the amount of damage caused to a vehicle, the collision must be reported to Police. The same rule applies to collisions involving property — such as fences, signs, posts, or trees.