MPP Dufferin-Caledon

Improving Road Safety in Dufferin-Caledon

Road safety in our community is a key priority that I hear across our communities. Ontario has an important role to play in keeping streets safe, with processes like the establishment of Community Safety Zones on provincial roads and highways. This designation, when approved, would augment existing speed limits and would double the fines for speeding, racing and stunt driving, and careless driving in the prescribed area.

Our government has been working hard to better connect people to places, while keeping roads and communities safe. In that time, our record speaks for itself. We have worked diligently to protect all those who use our roads, including new drivers and children on their way to school. We have also taken action to address dangerous driving, including impaired and distracted driving.

In 2019, the Legislature passed the Getting Ontario Moving Act, a landmark piece of legislation to ensure our roads are among the safest in North America. Introduced through the legislation were two new offences for any driving instructor that violates zero blood-alcohol concentration and zero-drug presence requirements. This change makes learning to drive safer and reaffirms to new drivers that it is never safe to drive under the influence.

Also included in the Getting Ontario Moving Act was a number of changes to keep all road users safe. For example, the legislation improves traffic flow and strengthens road safety on our highways by introducing tougher penalties for driving slowly in the left-hand lane. It also gives municipalities the tools they need to target drivers who blow by school buses by allowing evidence from school bus stop-arm cameras to be used in court without the requirement of an additional witness.

Last October, the Federal government legalized and regulated cannabis. As a provincial government, our priorities throughout the cannabis legalization process have been to keep roads safe and protect youth. To that end, we have put strict laws in place to combat cannabis-impaired driving. This includes a zero-tolerance cannabis-impaired driving policy for young and novice drivers to match existing laws for alcohol-impaired driving. Drivers who test positive on a drug impairment recognition evaluator can face licence suspensions and vehicle impoundments, as well as monetary penalties and licence reinstatement fees. The Ministry of the Solicitor General has also supported the enforcement of impaired driving laws through a $2.4 million Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (RIDE) grant to augment the RIDE check programs and education campaigns for 172 police services across Ontario.

Additionally, we have increased the penalties for distracted and careless driving. First-time offenders face up to $1,000 in fines and three demerit points, while repeat offenders can face a $3,000 fine and six demerit points. For the sake of yourself and all those around you, it is vital for drivers to focus on the road – not on distractions such as your phone.

To learn more about how our government is working to connect people to places and keep our roads safe, visit sylviajonesmpp.ca or contact my office at 1-800-265-1603.