Changing The Rules Of The Road



    McGuinty Government's Road Safety Legislation Passes Third Reading

    TORONTO, April 21 /CNW/ -

    NEWS

    The Ontario legislature has passed the Road Safety Act, 2009 to make the
province's roads safer for all drivers. The new legislation will better
protect young drivers, increase penalties for drinking and suspended drivers
and gives police better enforcement tools.

    
    The new rules include:

    -  Requiring a zero blood alcohol concentration level for all drivers 21
       years of age and younger
    -  Higher fines for serious Highway Traffic Act offences, such as running
       a red light, failing to stop for an emergency vehicle and failing to
       remain at the scene of a collision.
    -  Immediate, seven-day impoundment of vehicles driven by drunk or
       suspended drivers. Those who continue to drive without an ignition
       interlock when one is required would also be subject to an immediate
       seven-day vehicle impoundment.
    -  A proposal to increase the length of time that new drivers spend in
       the Graduated Licensing System to get a driver's licence, up to 36
       months.
    

    Since the time of the bill's introduction, a proposed regulatory change
to the Graduated Licensing System that would have placed tighter restrictions
on the number of passengers that teen drivers can carry has been removed.
    Many of the measures included in the Road Safety Act, 2009, 
(http://webx.newswire.ca/click/?id=0ddf2f5289dbfed) will come into effect by
summer 2010.

    
    QUOTES

    "Safe roads take smart laws, tough enforcement and widespread education.
Our new road safety legislation does all of these things, will make a
tremendous difference for everyone who shares our roads."
    - Transportation Minister Jim Bradley.
      (http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/about/minister.shtml)

    QUICK FACTS

    -  Approximately three-quarters of suspended drivers continue to drive
       illegally in Ontario.
    -  Each year, approximately one quarter of all fatal collisions are
       alcohol-related.
    -  Statistics show that teen drivers are more likely to be in a collision
       than drivers in any other age group. In 2005, motor vehicle collisions
       were the leading cause of hospital admissions among youth aged 15 to
       24.
    

    LEARN MORE

    Learn more 
http://news.ontario.ca/mto/en/2009/04/making-ontarios-roads-safer-3.html)
about these and other measures contained in Bill 126, the Road Safety Act,
2009.

    To better prepare novice drivers for a lifetime of safe driving, Ontario
is also proposing improvements to its Graduated Licensing System
    (http://webx.newswire.ca/click/?id=eee1bdbf111cad5).

    
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                                              ontario.ca/transportation-news
                                                      Disponible en français


    BACKGROUNDER
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                         MAKING ONTARIO'S ROADS SAFER
    

    To help prevent injuries and deaths on Ontario's roads, the Road Safety
Act, 2009 (http://webx.newswire.ca/click/?id=0ddf2f5289dbfed) contains a
number of measures designed to combat some of the most persistent, dangerous
driving behaviours on our roads today.

    Zero tolerance for young drinking drivers

    Statistics show that the peak ages for drinking and driving collisions
are ages 19, 20 and 21. Ontario wants to put a stop to this trend by making it
illegal for any person aged 21 or under to drive after drinking any alcohol.
    This means that drivers aged 21 and under in all licence classes will be
required to have a zero blood alcohol concentration
(http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/impaired/fact-sheet.shtmlNo.bac)
whenever they are behind the wheel.
    It is anticipated that this law will come into effect in summer 2010.

    Getting suspended drivers off our roads

    Drivers suspended for driving-related reasons, such as drunk driving or
speeding, are about four times as likely to crash as drivers suspended for
non-driving-related reasons, such as not paying fines.
    In Ontario, an estimated three-quarters of all suspended drivers continue
to drive. This legislation will help get these dangerous drivers off our roads
by giving police the power to immediately impound their vehicles for seven
days - at the roadside.
    It is anticipated that this law will come into effect by fall 2010.

    Countering Impaired Driving

    Drinking and driving is a factor in about a quarter of all road
fatalities every year. To help police get drunk drivers off our roads, the
legislation will allow police to immediately impound for seven days vehicles
being driven by impaired drivers whose blood alcohol concentration registers
at 0.08 or higher. The same will go for any driver who drivers a vehicles that
is not equipped with an ignition interlock device when one is required.
    It is anticipated that this law will come into effect by fall 2010.
    In addition, drinking drivers who register in the "warn range"
(http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/impaired/fact-sheet.shtml) on a
roadside breath test who request a second test would be required to do so
immediately after the police officer requests the surrender of his or her
driver's licence. This legislative amendment will take effect May 1, 2009.

    Other Road Safety Measures

    The Road Safety Act, 2009 also contains a number of other important
legislative measures and will be complemented by a number of proposed
regulatory amendments that will help keep Ontario's roads safe, including:

    
    -  Encouraging safer driving behaviour by raising fines for many serious
       driving offences, such as failing to stop for a red light, not wearing
       a seatbelt, failing to ensure children are properly secured, and not
       moving over for emergency vehicles
    -  Making school buses safer by adopting the Canadian Standards
       Association's proposed 2007 school bus vehicle standards
    -  Recognizing power-assisted bicycles (also known as e-bikes) in
       legislation and setting out powers to regulate their operating
       requirements
    -  Permitting the use of child car seats and restraints for children with
       medical conditions
    -  Requiring child car seats to be used in vehicles registered outside
       Ontario.

    In addition the following key changes have been made since the time of the
bill's introduction that:
    -  May allow seizure of the licence plates for seven days rather than the
       vehicle for commercial drivers caught driving while under suspension,
       with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.08 or without an
       ignition interlock device if they require one as a condition of their
       licence.
    -  Allow police to use a second road-side screening device or
       breathalyser machine.

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                                              ontario.ca/transportation-news
                                                      Disponible en français


    BACKGROUNDER
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           GETTING OFF TO A BETTER START: MEASURES FOR NEW DRIVERS
    

    Learning to drive is no easy task. Ontario's Graduated Licensing System
(http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/gradu/index.shtml)(GLS) helps
new drivers to gradually gain the skills and experience they need to drive
safely, with special restrictions to help protect younger drivers.
    While graduated licensing has helped reduce the collision risk among
young drivers, youth continue to be overrepresented in collisions, including
those resulting in injuries and fatalities. That is why Ontario is proposing
to move forward with two proposed changes that will make GLS even more
effective:

    
    -  Increasing the length of time drivers spend at the G1
(http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/gradu/index.shtml) and G2
(http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/gradu/index.shtml) levels.

       Currently, novice drivers can obtain a full G Class license in as
       little as 20 months. Under the new rules, the minimum time it would
       take to get a full "G" Class driver's licence would be 30 months: 18
       months at the G1 level (reducible to 12 months if the driver completes
       an approved driver education course) and another 18 months at the G2
       level.

    -  Escalating sanctions for novice drivers for any combination of repeat
       violations of G1/G2/M1/M2 restrictions; convictions for individual HTA
       offences totalling four demerit points or higher; or court-ordered
       licence suspensions for HTA offences that would have resulted in four
       demerit points had the suspension not been ordered.

       These drivers would receive, upon conviction:

       -  First instance - 30-day licence suspension
       -  Second instance - 90-day licence suspension
       -  Third instance - the driver must reapply to the graduated licensing
          program, beginning at the G1 level.

    These changes will take effect as early as summer 2010.

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                                              ontario.ca/transportation-news
                                                      Disponible en français
    




For further information:

For further information: Nicole Lippa-Gasparro, Minister's Office, (416)
327-1815; Bob Nichols, Communications Branch, (416) 327-1158

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