[caption id="attachment_80791" align="aligncenter" width="480"] Stricter Laws Against Distracted Driving in Ontario
[/caption]A recently proposed bill in Ontario calls for stricter punishments for distracted driving. Transportation Minister Glen Murray believes that the Keeping Ontario's Roads Safe Act will keep motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists safer by being stricter with those who ignore the laws.
The areas covered by the bill are broad, including increased fines and demerit points for infractions such as texting while driving, failing to leave a safe distance when passing a cyclist, and opening a car door in the path of a passing cyclist. Fines will be increased to up to 1,000 dollars for distracted driving and drivers will be given three demerit points, increasing their insurance premiums.
Murray has also stated that safe driving is an obligation for all who share the roads, including cyclists. Fines have been increased for cyclists who fail to wear helmets or the required reflective material.
Government statistics indicate that distracted driving has become the top cause of traffic fatalities in Ontario, surpassing impaired driving. Statistics show that a driver is 23 times more likely to get into a traffic accident if texting while driving.
The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), Share the Road Cycling Coalition and the Ontario Trucking Association have all publically shown their support for movement to toughen up laws against distracted driving. CAA spokeswoman Teresa Di Felice stated in a news conference that it is her hope that distracted driving will become as socially unacceptable as impaired driving.
Other measures proposed in the bill include a mandatory alcohol treatment program and monitoring for all drivers who repeatedly drive while impaired, new trucking laws, and a clarification on medical conditions that make drivers unfit to operate vehicles.