Author Archive

Update:

see source

Ontario Government Committed to Keeping Drivers Safe

Drivers who live in northern Ontario can now put on studded tires earlier and keep them on longer, providing motorists with more options to stay safe during severe or extended winter weather.

Northern Ontario residents can now use studded tires from Sept. 1 to May 31. Previously, studded tires were only allowed from Oct. 1 to April 30. The change is based on advice and recommendations from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

Northern Ontario residents can now use studded tires from Sept. 1 to May 31. Previously, studded tires were only allowed from Oct. 1 to April 30. The change is based on advice and recommendations from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

Northern Ontario residents can now use studded tires from Sept. 1 to May 31. Previously, studded tires were only allowed from Oct. 1 to April 30. The change is based on advice and recommendations from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

Studded tires can be used on vehicles that have an ownership address in northern Ontario, which includes the districts of Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Temiskaming. They can also be used on out-of-province vehicles travelling in Ontario for less than a month.

Ensuring Ontario’s roads and highways are safe is part of the government’s plan to invest in people, build modern infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate.

Quick Facts

  • Studded tires are proven to be more effective than other tires on wet, icy road conditions.
  • Only lightweight, Scandinavian studs can be used in northern Ontario.

Comments No Comments »

Update: see previous posts – February 26, 2014 – Ontario: Chief Justice Increases Distracted Driving Fines to $280 on March 18, 2014, November 6, 2013 Ontario: Driver’s Talking/Texting Deadlier Than Impaired Drivers, October 24, 2013 Ontario: Liberals Will Increase Sanctions (Demerit Points) Against Driver’s On Their Cells, October 4, 2013 Guelph: Court Rulings Mean Police Will Ticket When Motorist Simply Hold Their Phone, September 27, 2013 Ontario: Highest Court of Ontario Rules Simply “Holding” a Cellphone in Vehicle is Sufficient to Convict, August 16, 2013 Toronto: Motorists Using Phones to Talk,Text,Email Four Years After Law Prohibing It

Distracted Laws/Demerits/Fines in Canada

Since 2008, every province and territory in Canada — with the exception of Nunavut — has created laws to deal with cellphone use by drivers.

Location What is banned? Demerit Fine
B.C. Hand-held devices, plus novice drivers using hands-free equipment 3 $167
Alberta Holding or viewing a communications device, reading, writing and any other distraction None $172
Sask. Hand-held communication equipment, plus novice drivers going hands-free 4 $280
Manitoba Hand-held electronic devices None $199.80
Ontario Hand-held wireless communication devices None* $280*
Quebec Hand-held devices that include a phone function, plus using it hands-free 3 $115-154
N.B. Hand-held electronic devices 3 $172.50
Nova Scotia Hand-held cell phones, plus text messaging on any device None $164-$337
P.E.I. Hand-held wireless communication devices 3 $250-400
N.L. Hand-held cell phones, plus text messaging on any device 4 $100-400
Yukon Hand-held devices for talking, texting and emailing, plus graduated licence holders can’t go hands-free 3 $250
N.W.T. Hand-held electronic devices 3 $100
Nunavut None
Source: Transport Canada, CAA

*Drivers endangering others by using hand-held or hands-free devices can be charged with careless driving, which brings fines up to $2,000. Under proposed legislation, judges would be able to fine offenders between $300 and $1,000 for distracted driving alone and add demerit points to the driver’s provincial licence.

The fine for contravening section 78.1(1) of the Highway Traffic Act and driving distracted is currently $155. On March 18, 2014 the fine for breaking that law will rise from $155 to $280.

see source

Drivers who text behind the wheel face fines of up to $1,000 and three demerit points under tough new provincial legislation coming this fall.

Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said the sweeping law aimed at curbing distracted driving will be introduced after the legislature resumes Oct. 20.

“It’s an increase on the fines and also the demerit points,” Del Duca said in an interview Monday.

In fact, scofflaws in Ontario would be slapped with the stiffest penalties in Canada for talking or texting on handheld cellphones while driving.

“We’ve seen tremendous improvements over the years about impaired driving. We definitely do have to raise awareness — particularly amongst younger drivers — with respect to texting and driving and distracted driving,” the minister said.

“Part of it is increasing the fines, part of it is the demerit points and part of it is obviously a very aggressive, robust public awareness campaign to make sure people understand about the dangers.”

Del Duca said Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government plans to revive a bill introduced last March by his predecessor Glen Murray that failed to pass before the June 12 election.

“I look forward to reintroducing this legislation and getting it passed as soon as possible. I think it has broad support in the legislature — it certainly seemed to when it was introduced last time.”

Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Vince Hawkes told the Star that distracted-driving deaths have surpassed those caused by impaired driving.

Last year, distracted driving contributed to the deaths of 78 people compared to 57 for impaired driving and 44 for accidents related to speeding.

“It is a huge loss of life. It is such a waste. It’s one of those things it is frustrating to see,” the province’s top cop said.

Hawkes noted Monday that his officers will be conducting a blitz against distracted drivers this Labour Day long weekend on Ontario’s 400 series highways.

The OPP laid 19,000 distracted-driving charges in 2013, up from 16,000 the year before.

Toronto police laid 55,000 distracted driving charges between 2010 and 2012 and at least three auto-related deaths over the past two years are blamed on cellphone use.

Del Duca’s bill would hike fines from the $60 to $500 range to between $300 and $1,000 and three demerit points. Currently no points are accumulated for using a smartphone while driving.

By comparison, in British Columbia, fines are up to $167 plus three demerit points; in Alberta it’s $172 with no points; in Quebec, it’s between $115 to $154 and three points; and in New Brunswick, it’s $172.50 and three points.

The proposed legislation would also impose similar sanctions for drivers who door cyclists.

A motorist convicted of injuring a bike rider with their car door would see the fine go from the $60 to $500 range to between $300 and $1,000 and three demerit points instead of two.

The demerit points could prove most costly for motorists as they can affect auto insurance rates.

An experienced driver who accumulates between two and eight points will be sent a warning letter; nine to 14 points could lead to an interview with Ministry of Transportation officials and a possible licence suspension.

Fifteen or more points will lead to the loss of a licence for 30 days.

Demerit points are even more punitive for new drivers.

Two to five points leads to a warning letter; six to eight to an interview or suspension; and nine or more points to the loss of driving privileges for 60 days.

Del Duca’s legislation is also expected to force drivers to maintain a one-metre distance when passing cyclists.

As well, it would require motorists to wait at school crossings and other crosswalks until pedestrians have completely traversed the width of the roadway.

Last February, Annemarie Bonkalo, chief justice of the Ontario Court of Justice, issued a judicial order raising distracted driving fines for the first time since 2009.

At the time, the chief justice’s office said she upped the penalty “in light of the significant public interest in encouraging driver safety.”

Comments No Comments »

Update:

Within Ontario’s Legislature, Queen’s Park; This Bill (Bill 24, Prohibiting Driving with Unlawful Handguns Act, 2014) was given first reading on July 23, 2014.

 

Source:

An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act and the Civil Remedies Act, 2001 to promote public safety by prohibiting driving in a motor vehicle with an unlawfully possessed handgun

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

Highway Traffic Act

1.  (1)  Subsection 1 (1) of the Highway Traffic Act is amended by adding the following definitions:

“handgun” means a handgun within the meaning of the Criminal Code (Canada); (“arme de poing”)

“unlawfully possessed handgun” means any handgun whose possession is not authorized under the Firearms Act (Canada); (“arme de poing illégale”)

(2)  Subsection 1 (8) of the Act is amended by striking out “55.2 or 172” and substituting “55.2, 172 or 172.2”.

2.  Subsection 41.4 (21) of the Act is amended by striking out “82.1 or 172” at the end and substituting “82.1, 172 or 172.2”.

3.  Subsection 48.4 (21) of the Act is amended by striking out “82.1 or 172” at the end and substituting “82.1, 172 or 172.2”.

4.  Subsection 55.1 (37) of the Act is amended by striking out “82.1 or 172” at the end and substituting “82.1, 172 or 172.2”.

5.  Subsection 55.2 (21) of the Act is amended by striking out “82.1 or 172” at the end and substituting “82.1, 172 or 172.2”.

6.  Subsection 82.1 (36.2) of the Act is amended by striking out “55.2 or 172” at the end and substituting “55.2, 172 or 172.2”.

7.  Subsection 172 (18.1) of the Act is amended by striking out “55.2 or 82.1” at the end and substituting “55.2, 82.1 or 172.2”.

8.  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Driving with unlawfully possessed handgun in motor vehicle prohibited

172.2  (1)  No person shall drive on a highway a motor vehicle in which there is an unlawfully possessed handgun.   

Offence

(2)  Every person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition the person’s driver’s licence may be suspended,

(a)  on a first conviction under this section, for one year;

(b)  on the first subsequent conviction under this section, for five years; and

(c)  on the second subsequent conviction under this section, indefinitely.

Determining subsequent conviction

(3)  In determining whether a conviction is a subsequent conviction for the purposes of subsection (2), the only question to be considered is the sequence of convictions and no consideration shall be given to the sequence of commission of offences or whether any offence occurred before or after any conviction.

Police to require surrender of licence, detention of vehicle

(4)  If a police officer believes on reasonable and probable grounds that a person has committed an offence under subsection (1), the officer shall,

(a)  request that the person surrender his or her driver’s licence; and

(b)  detain the motor vehicle until it is impounded under clause (6) (b).

Administrative seven-day licence suspension

(5)  Upon a request being made under clause (4) (a), the person to whom the request is made shall forthwith surrender his or her driver’s licence to the police officer and, whether or not the person is unable or fails to surrender the licence to the police officer, his or her driver’s licence is suspended for a period of seven days from the time the request is made.

Administrative seven-day vehicle impoundment

(6)  Upon a motor vehicle being detained under clause (4) (b), the motor vehicle shall, at the cost of and risk to its owner,

(a)  be removed to an impound facility as directed by a police officer; and

(b)  be impounded for seven days from the time it was detained under clause (4) (b).

Release of vehicle

(7)  Subject to subsection (14), the motor vehicle shall be released to its owner from the impound facility upon the expiry of the period of impoundment.

Early release of vehicle

(8)  Despite the detention or impoundment of a motor vehicle under this section, a police officer may release the motor vehicle to its owner before it is impounded under subsection (6) or, subject to subsection (14), may direct the operator of the impound facility where the motor vehicle is impounded to release the motor vehicle to its owner before the expiry of the seven days if the officer is satisfied that the motor vehicle was stolen at the time of the contravention of subsection (1).

Duty of officer re licence suspension

(9)  Every officer who asks for the surrender of a person’s driver’s licence under this section shall keep a record of the licence received with the name and address of the person and the date and time of the suspension and shall, as soon as practicable after receiving the licence, provide the person with a notice of suspension showing the time from which the suspension takes effect and the period of time for which the licence is suspended.

Duty of officer re impoundment

(10)  Every officer who detains a motor vehicle under this section shall prepare a notice identifying the motor vehicle that is to be impounded under subsection (6), the name and address of the driver and the date and time of the impoundment and shall, as soon as practicable after the impoundment of the motor vehicle, provide the driver with a copy of the notice showing the time from which the impoundment takes effect, the period of time for which the motor vehicle is impounded and the place where the vehicle may be recovered.

Same

(11)  A police officer shall provide a copy of the notice prepared under subsection (10) to the owner of the motor vehicle by delivering it personally or by mail to the address of the owner shown on the permit for the motor vehicle or to the latest address for the owner appearing on the records of the Ministry.

No appeal or hearing, court proceedings not affected

(12)  There is no appeal from, or right to be heard before, a vehicle detention, driver’s licence suspension or vehicle impoundment under subsection (4), (5) or (6), but this subsection does not affect the taking of any proceeding in court.

Lien for storage costs

(13)  The costs incurred by the person who operates the impound facility where a motor vehicle is impounded under this section are a lien on the motor vehicle that may be enforced under the Repair and Storage Liens Act.

Costs to be paid before release of vehicle

(14)  The person who operates the impound facility where a motor vehicle is impounded under subsection (6) is not required to release the motor vehicle until the removal and impound costs for the vehicle have been paid.

Owner may recover losses from driver

(15)  The owner of a motor vehicle that is impounded under this section may bring an action against the driver of the motor vehicle at the time the vehicle was detained under clause (4) (b) to recover any costs or other losses incurred by the owner in connection with the impoundment.

Offence

(16)  Every person who obstructs or interferes with a police officer in the performance of his or her duties under this section is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $200 and not more than $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both.

Intent of suspension and impoundment

(17)  The suspension of a driver’s licence and the impoundment of a motor vehicle under this section are intended to promote compliance with this Act and to thereby safeguard the public and do not constitute an alternative to any proceeding or penalty arising from the same circumstances or around the same time.

Impoundment concurrent with other administrative impoundments

(18)  The impoundment of a motor vehicle under this section runs concurrently with an impoundment, if any, of the same motor vehicle under section 41.4, 48.4, 55.1, 55.2, 82.1 or 172.

Regulations

(19)  The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations,

(a)  requiring police officers to keep records with respect to licence suspensions and vehicle impoundments under this section for a specified period of time and to report specified information with respect to licence suspensions and vehicle impoundments to the Registrar and governing such records and reports;

(b)  exempting any class of persons or class or type of vehicles from any provision or requirement of this section or of any regulation made under this section, prescribing conditions for any such exemptions and prescribing different requirements for different classes of persons or different classes or types of vehicles.

Definition

(20)  In this section,

“driver’s licence” includes a driver’s licence issued by another jurisdiction.

Civil Remedies Act, 2001

9.  Clause (b) of the definition of “vehicular unlawful activity” in section 11.1 of the Civil Remedies Act, 2001 is amended by adding “or 172.2 (1)” after “subsection 53 (1.1)”.

10.  (1)  Section 11.2 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Same

(1.1)  In a proceeding commenced by the Attorney General, the Superior Court of Justice shall, subject to subsection (4) and except where it would clearly not be in the interests of justice, make an order forfeiting a vehicle to the Crown in right of Ontario if the court finds that the vehicle,

(a)  was or is likely to be used to engage in vehicular unlawful activity in contravention of section 172.2 of the Highway Traffic Act; and

(b)  is owned by or is in the care, control or possession of a person whose driver’s licence has been suspended under section 172.2 of the Highway Traffic Act.

(2)  Subsection 11.2 (3) of the Act is amended by adding “or (1.1)” after “subsection (1)” wherever it appears.

(3)  Subsection 11.2 (4) of the Act is amended by adding “or (1.1)” after “subsection (1)”.

11.  Section 11.3 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Same

(2.1)  The court shall make an order under subsection (1) if the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the vehicle is owned by or is in the care, control or possession of a person whose driver’s licence has been suspended under the Highway Traffic Act for vehicular unlawful activity that is a contravention of section 172.2 of that Act and that the vehicle,

(a)  is impounded under the Highway Traffic Act as a result of such vehicular unlawful activity; or

(b)  was or is likely to be used to engage in such vehicular unlawful activity.

Commencement

12.  This Act comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

Short title

13.  The short title of this Act is the Prohibiting Driving with Unlawful Handguns Act, 2014.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTE

The purpose of the Bill is to promote public safety and suppress conditions that lead to crime. The Bill adds a new section 172.2 to the Highway Traffic Act, which makes it an offence to drive on a highway a motor vehicle in which there is an unlawfully possessed handgun. The penalties associated with the offence are a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $10,000 or imprisonment of not more than six months, or both, and a driver’s licence suspension of one year for a first conviction under the section, five years for a second conviction and indefinitely for a third conviction. A police officer who believes, on reasonable and probable grounds, that an offence has been committed shall request the surrender of the driver’s licence and detain the vehicle. The licence is suspended for seven days and the vehicle is impounded for the same length of time. The new section applies to drivers’ licences issued by Ontario or another jurisdiction. The Bill also amends various sections in the Highway Traffic Act to ensure that the impoundment period runs concurrently with the other administrative impoundments.

Part III.1 (Unlawful Activities Related to Road Safety) of the Civil Remedies Act, 2001 is amended so that a vehicle involved in a contravention of section 172.2 of the Highway Traffic Act may become subject to forfeiture under that Act.

Comments No Comments »

Update:

The source of the mysterious Windsor Hum in the southwestern Ontario city is Zug Island — in River Rouge, Mich., indicates a federally funded report released today. The low frequency hum has been reported at various times throughout the day and ranges from mildly irritating to headache-producing. Residents have complained for years that the "hum" causes anything from headaches to migraines. This affects people that live in the area, work in the area and have businesses in the area.  This demonstrates why commercial and residential zoning areas shouldn't be too close together.

The source of the mysterious Windsor Hum in the southwestern Ontario city is Zug Island — in River Rouge, Mich., indicates a federally funded report released today. The low frequency hum has been reported at various times throughout the day and ranges from mildly irritating to headache-producing. Residents have complained for years that the “hum” causes anything from headaches to migraines. This affects people that live in the area, work in the area and have businesses in the area. This demonstrates one of the reasons why commercial and residential zoning areas shouldn’t be too close together. U.S. officials are now reviewing it.

see source

The source of the mysterious Windsor Hum in the southwestern Ontario city is Zug Island — in River Rouge, Mich., indicates a federally funded report released today.

Essex Conservative MP Jeff Watson released the report’s findings at a news conference at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Windsor on Friday.

Watson said U.S. officials must now determine the precise location of the noise. Copies of the federal report have been given to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and the mayor of River Rouge.

“We look forward to further discussions with them,” Watson said.

Zug Island is home to a U.S. Steel operation and is an area of concentrated steel production and other manufacturing.

Residents in west and south Windsor and the neighbouring town of LaSalle started complaining about the rumbling and humming noise more than three years ago.

It has been described as sounding like an idling locomotive, a transport truck and running refrigerator.

Windsor Coun. Al Maghnieh has been fielding complaints about the noise for years, and has been vocal about getting to the bottom of the phenomenon.

“We want to know exactly what the solution is to either stop it or reduce it to a point where it’s not affecting the quality of life of residents,” Maghnieh said

Watson said it is important to “protect the quality of life” in Windsor.

“We made a commitment to find a solution that would work for the people of Windsor.”

In January 2013, Ottawa earmarked $60,000 for two research projects to find the Windsor Hum’s origin.

In February 2013, Prof. Colin Novak of the University of Windsor, and a group of fellow scientists and researchers from Windsor and London’s Western University set up a state-of-the-art, $250,000 recording station in a woodlot in the western part of Windsor. It was a virtual ear, tuned to record the hum 24/7.

Peter Brown of Western University was also part of the research team.

The first report was “inconclusive,” Watson said. The second determined Zug Island to be home to the hum.

Comments No Comments »

Update:

General Motors (GM) Detroit Headquarters. GM is America's largest car manufacturer. It emerged from bankruptcy in the summer of 2009. If the federal government prosecutes GM Canada under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the company could face a fine of $1-million. The U.S. Transportation Department fined the company $35-million (U.S.) and is penalizing it an additional $7,000 a day until GM submits a report to the government on why it did not recall the vehicles until this year despite evidence of problems going back to at least 2007.

General Motors (GM) Detroit Headquarters. GM is America’s largest car manufacturer. It emerged from bankruptcy, after 40 days,  in the summer of 2009. If the federal government prosecutes GM Canada under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the company could face a fine of $1-million. The U.S. Transportation Department fined the company $35-million (U.S.) and is penalizing it an additional $7,000 a day until GM submits a report to the government on why it did not recall the vehicles until this year despite evidence of problems going back to at least 2007.

see source

General Motors of Canada Ltd. has told Transport Canada that the company did not know before February that some vehicles it was selling here contained defective ignition switches, raising questions about whether Ottawa can penalize the auto maker as the U.S. government has, with a record fine on General Motors Co.

The Detroit-based parent of GM Canada acknowledged last week that it broke U.S. laws by failing to notify the U.S. government in a timely manner that Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other vehicles built in the 2000s contained defective ignition switches. The defects led to car accidents that killed 12 Americans and contributed to the death of a Canadian driver in a crash last year before the vehicles were recalled in February.

GM Canada has made no such admission and has said it is assisting investigations being undertaken by Transport Canada.

“In order for us to have a good case to prosecute, it does matter when GM Canada knew,” Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said Thursday, hours before officials from her department said they had been told by GM Canada that the company was unaware of the defects until it issued the recall.

“What usually happens is that GM Canada finds out at the same time as everybody else, because that’s how it’s handled; the decision is made at the head office in the United States,” Ms. Raitt told reporters on a conference call from Germany, where she was attending a conference.

If the federal government prosecutes GM Canada under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (1993, c. 16), the company could face a fine of $1-million. The U.S. Transportation Department fined the company $35-million (U.S.) and is penalizing it an additional $7,000 a day until GM submits a report to the government on why it did not recall the vehicles until this year despite evidence of problems going back to at least 2007.

Ms. Raitt’s office said she was unavailable later Thursday to discuss what the government will do now that GM Canada has said it had no knowledge of the defect until the recall in February.

In some cases, the defective ignition switches led to engine shutdowns, which meant drivers were unable to steer their cars and airbags did not deploy.

Dany Dubuc-Marquis of Granby, Que., was killed last year after he lost control of the 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt he was driving and went off the road. His father, Normand Dubuc, complained to Transport Canada, when he noticed that the car’s airbags did not appear to have deployed.

In an interview, Mr. Dubuc said he’s certain even more people have been injured or killed as a result of the faulty ignition switches. He acknowledged the $35-million fine the U.S. government imposed on GM, but called the amount “ridiculous” compared with the damage the faulty vehicles have caused.

The family of Nick Baker, a Cornwall, Ont., man, is suing GM Canada, its parent company and the supplier of ignition switches after he died when his Saturn Ion compact veered across a county road in a crash for which a cause has not been found.

The company has recalled 368,000 vehicles in Canada and 2.6 million because of the ignition switches and millions of other vehicles since then to address other problems.

U.S. regulators and politicians have been aggressive in seeking answers from GM since the recalls were announced in February, although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been criticized for not being aggressive enough when it first became aware in 2007 that there might be problems with defective ignition switches in GM vehicles.

GM’s chief executive officer Mary Barra was summoned to Washington to appear before two Congressional committees to explain why it took so long for the auto maker to recall the vehicles.

Attempts by opposition MPs to force Ms. Raitt and company officials to appear before the House of Commons Transport Committee failed earlier this year, when the Conservatives sent a motion on the issue by NDP MP Hoang Mai to an in-camera session.

Comments No Comments »