Only a few days into the new session at Queen’s Park, the majority Liberals have re-introduced legislation that aims to keep the province’s roads safe.
The original plan to boost safety died when the election was called in June, however on Tuesday, the Transportation Minister tabled legislation that targets distracted driving, along with cyclist and pedestrian safety.
If passed, the new law would drastically increase the fine paid out by drivers charged with texting or talking while behind the wheel, to a maximum of $1,000, along with 3 demerit points – the toughest in Canada.
The provincial plan to crackdown on unsafe driving is also targeting “drug drivers”, people who are stoned behind the wheel. Under the plan, drivers who are impaired by drugs will face the same kind of penalties as those impaired by alcohol, including roadside licence suspension of between 3-days and 3-months.
They’re working on drug detecting technology that would be similar to a breathalyzer, but for now all that an officer would need is to suspect drug impairment.
The province will also require that vehicles yield the entire roadway to pedestrians at crossovers and in school zones, while increasing the fines for motorists that door cyclists from its current $60-$500 to between $300-$1000 and three demerit points instead of two.
Motorists would have to stay one metre away from cyclists ‘where practicable’.
Bikes would also be permitted to utilize paved shoulders on highways not considered “controlled access”, like 400 series roadways.
Do you think cyclists are being given more benefits than motorists? Will these new laws prevent you from distracted driving? If not, what would?