Tougher penalties for careless and distracted driving

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Ontario plans to aggressively crack down on careless and distracted driving with tough new rules and penalties designed to improve road safety and keep pedestrians and cyclists safe. Given the rising number of fatalities involving motorists and pedestrians across the city, these measures should help reduce those grim statistics.

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.

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Here are some unsettling statistics:
• On average, one person is killed on Ontario’s roads every 17 hours.
• 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. – CINEWS

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