Canadian Underwriter

CAA South Central Ontario launches campaign to inform motorists of new distracted driving rules

July 27, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter

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CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) announced on Monday that it is launching its Heads Up! campaign with the help of the provincial Ministry of Transportation, Ontario Provincial Police, York Regional Police and the Toronto Police Service.

The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness and educate drivers about the new laws and regulations following the passing of the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act in June, CAA SCO said in a press release. The new rules include higher fines and demerit points for distracted drivers (fines between $300 and $1,000, along with three demerit points if convicted. Novice drivers under the graduated licensing system will also face an immediate 30-day suspension on their first offence). The previous penalty was a fine of between $60 and $500 and no demerit points. [click image below to enlarge]

The new rules include fines between $300 and $1,000 and three demerit points, from $60-$500 and no demerit points

The law also changes the “Slow Down, Move Over” law to include tow trucks and requirements for drivers to keep a distance of one metre when passing cyclists, where practicable.

Related: IBAO, IBC commend Ontario government for increasing distracted driving fines

“The Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act benefits all road users by increasing safety measures regardless of your mode of transportation,” said Teresa Di Felice, director of government and community relations and driver training, CAA SCO, in the release. “CAA is pleased to see significant changes to address distracted driving, improve cycling in our province and provide enhanced safety measures for tow truck operators servicing motorists on Ontario’s roads.”

Felice added that extending “slow down, move over protection, an effort that CAA has been advocating for since 2010, will improve safety for both tow truck operators and motorists who are stranded.”

Related: Ontario increases penalties for drivers who text, email, talk on handheld phone

Changes to cycling legislation will see the fine for a “dooring” conviction increase to between $300 and $1,000, along with three demerit points, as well as a new requirement for all drivers to keep a distance of one metre when passing cyclists, CAA SCO said.

Ontario joins five Canadian provinces and nearly every state in the United States that requires motorists to slow down and move over upon approaching tow trucks assisting other vehicles.