In an effort to make the roads safer for motorists, cyclists and tow truck operators, new rules have come into effect in Ontario today. The Ontario Provincial Police cite driver inattention as one of the main causes of injury and death on the province’s roads, posing a larger threat than even impaired driving!
While many residents think cellphones and texting with regards to distracted driving, police are stressing that said charge also concerns fussing with kids in the back of a vehicle, fiddling with the radio, eating while behind the wheel, applying makeup or tending to a dog in your lap! Basically, police want you to focus on the road ahead and the environment surrounding your vehicle, and nothing else.
Here’s a cheat sheet on 5 of today’s new changes. Print it out and put it in your wallet for future use (just don’t check it over while you’re driving!):
1) DISTRACTED DRIVING
What: using your smartphone or doing anything distracting while behind the wheel
Penalty: Minimum $490 + 3 Demerit Points
What: Opening vehicle door and striking a cyclist or vehicle
Penalty: Minimum $365 + 3 Demerit Points
3) PASSING CYCLISTS
What: Leaving less than 1 Metre of space when passing cyclists
Penalty: Minimum $110 + 2 Demerit Points
4) BICYCLE LIGHTING
What: Cyclists riding without proper lights and reflectors
Penalty: Minimum $110
5) MOVE OVER for TOW TRUCKS
What: Failing to slow down and move over to give tow trucks (aka emergency vehicles) extra space while they work
Penalty: Minimum $490
Below is a call that officer Sam made to The Oakley Show Tuesday morning regarding the stiffer penalties for distracted driving.