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New traffic laws in effect Sept. 1

New traffic laws come into effect today bringing new rules for drivers and heavier penalties for breaking them.

new lawsHere is a look at five new traffic laws:

Distracted driving: If you’re caught looking at your phone, texting or talking on your phone while driving, you will face much bigger fines and more demerit points, the province is warning. The current fine for distracted driving is approximately $200. As of Tuesday, those found guilty of distracted driving will face fines up to $1,000 and more demerit points. Drivers with G1 or G2 licenses could have their permits suspended on the spot.
The only time the law doesn’t apply is if drivers are making a 911 call. If not, a motor vehicle has to be off a roadway or lawfully parked, not in motion and not impeding traffic for a driver to be able to use a cellphone.

Pedestrian crossovers: Drivers will have to wait until pedestrians have completely crossed the road at pedestrian crossovers and school crossings before proceeding. About half of all fatal traffic accidents involving pedestrians occur at intersections, the Ministry of Transportation said. The new law is an attempt to make roads safer for pedestrians. This change will take effect in January.

Passing cyclists: Drivers will have to give cyclists at least one metre of room wherever possible. The fine for breaking this rule has not yet been set. Motorists who open the door of their vehicle into the path of a cyclist without checking will face fines between $300 and $1,000 and three demerit points.

The “move over” law: Drivers are required to slow down and move into the next lane whenever they see a stopped emergency vehicle with its red and blue lights flashing. This will apply to stopped tow trucks that have amber lights flashing. The fine for breaking these rules will be $490 and three demerit points.

Alcohol and drugs: Those caught driving under the influence of drugs will now face the same penalties as drunk drivers, the ministry said. These include between a three and 90-day license suspension and a week-long vehicle impoundment. More than 45 per cent of drivers killed in Ontario were found that have drugs or alcohol in their systems.


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  1. Richard says:

    Susan I have seen that same officer doing worse. But they are above the law. People new laws changes, no worry with the police force we have here make all the laws you want they will not enforce them. The worse excuse for a police force. Watch what goes on Main St Picton on a daily bases with no police in site. Get out of the car and away from back roads officers, walk the streets see the law breakers meet the people become part of the community

  2. Susan says:

    Actually you can look at the phone you just cannot touch it. There is a police woman here who likes to drive with one hand and eat a donut with the other. This can be an offence as well. I am seeing fewer holding their phones while driving now but an awful lot looking down reading at traffic lights.

  3. Marnie says:

    We are far too attached to cell phones and other electronic gadgets. How many calls are really urgent? With today’s traffic driving requires our full attention. Kudos to the police for doing their job. Better that they be a little over-zealous than inattentive.

  4. Safety First says:

    Actually, its black and white. Distracted driving is distracted driving and kills more people now than drunk driving.

    And sorry Lena, just looking at your phone is considered distracted driving. These new rules aren’t out there to make people money. They are out there to save lives. Because no life is worth a friggin’ text!

    Go YouTube 10-85 Echo: Reggie Shaw and maybe you’ll change your mind.

  5. Lena says:

    I was pulled over and almost given a ticket just for looking at a cell phone. I was stopped at a red light and had just received a call on my cell phone which I did not answer as I was driving. At the lights I took the phone out of my purse, which was on the passenger seat, to see who had called and immediately put the phone down. Then I used the car’s built in phone to call the person back. A motorcycle OPP pulled me over and threatened to give me a ticket even though he could hear me on the handsfree telling the person I was speaking with I had to call them back. He told me that I f you held any electronic device, using it or not, while the four tires of your vehicle on are the road he could issue a ticket for distracted driving. The rules did not apply to any of the buttons or anything attached to the car dash. Unless that is changed, turning on your radio or changing channels is OK.

  6. MI says:

    Thank you MADD, and the insurance companies that finance their lobbying, for allowing the police to be completely unaccountable for pulling you over for no reason. I completely support the no-texting and avoiding phone use while driving. However, using the same rationale for eating, drinking non alcoholic beverages, or turning on your radio, in a car, is outrageous. It only justifies more police, with more fines, and there is no defense if the if you disagree. Whatever happened to our rights and ability to defend ourselves in court? And don’t tell me all police are fair and reasonable. There are too many incidents that show otherwise.

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