Ontario, Canada - The provincial government is on a quest to deter any form of distracted driving. As of the 18th, fines increased for all drivers found diverting their driving attention from the steering wheel and roads to look at any electronic screen or handheld device other than GPS navigation system. Those fines jumped from $155 to $280. This is because distracted driving now claims more lives annually in the province than DUI and reckless speeding.
"When you consider the overall impact of these 78 fatalities last year and the 325 other distracted driving victims who have died since 2010, the number of people these irresponsible drivers have had a profound and devastating impact on is in the thousands," said OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Commander of Traffic Safety and Operational Support in a previous release.
However, looking at electronic gadgets isn’t the only thing that will get a person fined. A practice called "dooring" occurs when automobile occupants open their doors in the path of cyclists causing an impact. The Ontario parliament has now imposed still $1,000 fines for "dooring" cyclists. The fines apply when the "dooring" is the result of distracted car occupants using electronic devices. In addition, drivers guilty of dooring will have their driving records slapped with no less than 3 demerit points.
As per Glen Murray, Ontario's Transportation Minister, this new legislation has been in the works for years. It is expected that the increased fines and demerits will make the roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists alike as well as for other drivers. Vice-President Ralph Palumbo of the Insurance Bureau of Canada in Ontario explained the financial counter-incentive of the demerit points on what he termed are "scofflaws" (IE people who flagrantly violate the law). He stated that the fear of having insurance premiums increase with the additional demerit points will hopefully be a wakeup call to them.
The great English philosopher John Locke stated in his paper "A Second Treatise on Civil Government" that laws should impose strict punishments. When musing upon the question of how strict the punishments should be, he answered that the level of strictness should be sufficient to deter the crime. It certainly appears that the government of Ontario has taken a step in the right direction with these new fines.
On The Web:
Ontario road safety bill targets distracted drivers, ‘dooming’