Changes to Driving Offences came into effect September 1, 2015

Ontario recently amended their driving offence legislation, in the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act, to increase the fines for a handful of driving offences. The changes are significant in that in two of them demerit points were added to sentences of two offences that prior did not have them: distracted driving and “dooring of cyclists.” The distracted driving offence, for example being on your cell phone. Prior to September 1st this offence had a fine range of $60-$500, but now there is a mandatory fine of $490 as well as three demerit points. The “dooring” of cyclists used to have a sentence range of $60-$500 fine, but now bears a mandatory fine of $365 and three demerit points. Another change is that drivers must leave a one-meter distance when passing cyclists, with failure to do so resulting in a fine of $110 and two demerit points. More changes are expected to be coming in January 2016.

Highway traffic offences that have demerit points as part of the sentence can have an impact on your ability to keep your licence, as well as the insurance ramifications. It is always worth consulting a lawyer when charged with offences under the HTA to determine if it is an offence worth challenging in court.

The legislation can be found here.

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