Ontario: Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Keeping Ontario’s Roads Safe), 2014 Amends Numerous Sections of the Highway Traffic Act

Update:

Glen Murray - Ontario Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation effective Feb. 13/13. Transportation Minister Glen Murray The Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Keeping Ontario’s Roads Safe), 2014 substantially changes many sections of the Highway Traffic Act (the "Act"). Here is what the Ontario government would be changing, if this bill, that was introduced by Transportation Minister Glenn Murray
Glen Murray – became the Ontario Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation effective Feb. 13/13. Transportation Minister Glen Murray introduced a new Bill in Queen’s Park named The Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Keeping Ontario’s Roads Safe), 2014 substantially changes many sections of theHighway Traffic Act (the “Act“).

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The Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Keeping Ontario’s Roads Safe), 2014 substantially changes many sections of the Highway Traffic Act (the “Act“).

Here is what the Ontario government would be changing, if this bill, that was introduced by Transportation Minister Glenn Murray, is passed and becomes law:

EXPLANATORY NOTE

The Bill amends the Highway Traffic Act in respect of various matters.

Impaired Driving

Requiring all drivers who repeatedly drive with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) exceeding any of the thresholds in the Highway Traffic Act to complete an alcohol education program followed by an alcohol treatment and monitoring program Extending the current Reduced Suspension with Ignition Interlock Conduct Review Program to repeat offenders
Requiring all drivers who repeatedly drive with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) exceeding any of the thresholds in the Highway Traffic Act to complete an alcohol education program followed by an alcohol treatment and monitoring program
Extending the current Reduced Suspension with Ignition Interlock Conduct Review Program to repeat offenders

Amendments to section 41 of the Act provide that the suspension of a driver’s licence on conviction for various Criminal Code and other offences may be shortened or continued if the person participates or fails to participate in a conduct review program.

Subsection 41 (4.1), which provides for early reinstatement of a suspended driver’s licence if the driver participates in an ignition interlock program, and sections 41.1, 41.2 and 41.3 of the Act, which provide for assessments and remedial programs, including ignition interlock programs, are repealed. The current section 57 of the Act, which allows for the establishment of conduct review programs by regulation, is expanded to take their place. Consequential amendments are made to other sections to refer to the programs under section 57, instead of those under sections 41.1 and 41.2.

Current section 55.1 of the Act provides for the long-term impoundment (45 days, 90 days or 180 days) of a motor vehicle if the driver’s licence is suspended for various convictions under the Criminal Code. Section 55.1 is amended to provide for the same impoundment in the following additional circumstances: if the driver contravenes an ignition interlock condition imposed on his or her licence under a conduct review program for a prescribed reason; if the driver’s licence is suspended under a conduct review program for a prescribed reason.

Sections 48.1 and 48.2.1 of the Act are amended to require police officers to notify the Registrar of Motor Vehicles of any 24-hour administrative driver’s licence suspensions imposed on novice drivers and young drivers under those sections.

Bicycling

Increase fines for drivers for dooring cyclists to a range of $300 to $1,000, up from a range of $60 to $500, and raise the demerit points from two to three. Require all drivers to maintain a distance of one metre when passing cyclists.
Increase fines for drivers for dooring cyclists to a range of $300 to $1,000, up from a range of $60 to $500, and raise the demerit points from two to three.
Require all drivers to maintain a distance of one metre when passing cyclists. Cyclists would also be targeted when they don’t use the proper safety equipment on their bikes – The fine for not using required bicycle lights and other reflectors or reflective material will range from $60-$500, up from the current $20. The change also permits the use of flashing red lights on bicycles.

Section 62 of the Act is amended to permit bicycles to carry a flashing red lamp on their rear; this may be in addition to or instead of the red light or reflector on their rear that is currently required. Subsection 62 (18) of the Act, which imposes a $20 fine for contravening the requirements for lights and reflectors on bicycles, is repealed.

Section 144 of the Act is amended to allow for traffic control signals that are specific to bicyclists. In locations where there are both bicycle traffic control signals and regular traffic control signals, bicyclists will be required to obey the bicycle traffic control signals.

Subsection 144 (29) of the Act is amended to remove the prohibition against riding or operating a bicycle along a crosswalk.

Section 148 of the Act is amended to require the driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle to maintain a distance of at least one metre between the vehicle and bicycle.

Bicycle Path
Bicycle Path

Current section 153 of the Act provides that vehicles and street cars must be driven only in one direction on one-way streets. This is amended to allow for the designation of a bicycle lane on one-way streets that goes in the opposite direction. A consequential amendment is made to subsection 147 (2) of the Act.

Section 156 of the Act is amended to permit bicycles to be ridden or operated on the paved shoulder of a highway that is divided into two separate roadways.

Inconsistent terminology is currently used throughout the Act to describe bicycling: riding, riding on and operating are used in reference to bicycles (including power-assisted bicycles), and driving, in reference to a vehicle, also includes bicycling. A number of provisions are amended so that they consistently use “ride or operate” in reference to a bicycle or, where the bicycle in the provision does not include a power-assisted bicycle, “ride”. The usage of “drive” in reference to vehicles, which includes bicycles, is unchanged.

Pedestrian Safety

Sections 140 and 176 of the Act are amended to require drivers to remain stopped at a pedestrian crossover or school crossing until the person crossing the street and the school crossing guard are off the roadway. The current Act allows drivers to proceed once the person crossing and the school crossing guard are no longer on the driver’s half of the roadway.

Pedestrian Crossing. In the future if driver's operating motor vehicle's aren't patient and allow pedestrians to completely cross the crosswalk/student crossing (from sidewalk to sidewalk) before they continue to drive their vehicle through the crossing, they will receive a ticket which will bring with it, a fine of $300 - $1000 and three (3) demerit points.
Pedestrian Crossing sign. The Bill would require motorists to yield to pedestrians at school crossings and pedestrian crossovers until they have completely crossed a road or street.  In the future if driver’s operating motor vehicle’s aren’t patient and allow pedestrians to completely cross the pedestrian crosswalk/school crossing (from sidewalk to sidewalk) before they continue to drive their vehicle through the crossing, they will receive a ticket which will bring with it, a fine of $300 – $1000 and three (3) demerit points.

Other amendments to section 140 of the Act consolidate the duties of drivers and pedestrians at pedestrian crossovers: drivers must stop before entering the crossover and not overtake another vehicle already stopped at the crossover; pedestrians (which includes persons in wheelchairs) must not enter a crossover and into the path of a vehicle or street car that is so close that the driver cannot stop.

In new subsection 140 (8), the Minister of Transportation is authorized to make regulations respecting pedestrian crossovers, including prescribing signs and markings.

The definition of “pedestrian crossover” in subsection 1 (1) of the Act is amended to remove the requirement that it be designated by a municipal by-law.

Medical Reports

Sections 203 and 204 of the Act currently require doctors and optometrists to report to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles the name, address and clinical condition of every person 16 years old or older who, in the opinion of the doctor or optometrist, suffers from a condition that may make it dangerous for the person to drive.

Sections 203 and 204 are re-enacted. Rather than imposing obligations on doctors and optometrists, the re-enacted provisions apply to persons to be prescribed by regulation. The prescribed persons will be required to make a mandatory report if a person has or appears to have a medical condition, functional impairment or visual impairment identified in a prescribed publication. In addition, a prescribed person may make a discretionary report if a person has a medical condition, functional impairment or visual impairment that the prescribed person believes may make it dangerous for the person to drive.

Vehicle Inspection Centre System

Current sections 88 to 100 of the Act, which deal with motor vehicle inspection stations and related matters, are repealed. They are replaced with sections 100.2 to 100.8, which create a new vehicle inspection centre system. Section 100.1 allows the Minister of Transportation to make transition regulations to facilitate the implementation of the vehicle inspection centre system.

Under new section 100.2, the Minister may establish a program for the inspection of vehicles and the issuance of certificates and stickers and other types of proof of inspection and may appoint a Director of Vehicle Inspection Standards to administer the program. The Minister may enter into agreements with service providers to assist in operating the program. The Minister may also enter into agreements to authorize persons to operate vehicle inspection centres and to authorize service providers to enter into such agreements.

The Director of Vehicle Inspection Standards is given broad authority to issue directives governing certificates, inspection procedures and requirements and equipment and performance standards under section 100.7. It is a deemed term and condition of every agreement to operate a vehicle inspection centre to comply with all applicable directives.

Miscellaneous

The penalties for contravening sections 78 and 78.1 of the Act, which prohibit display screens and hand-held devices, respectively, are increased to a fine of between $300 and $1,000.

Current section 85 of the Act requires that vehicles display a device affixed to them as evidence that the vehicle complies with inspection requirements and performance standards. Section 85 is amended to require vehicles to display an annual inspection sticker and a semi-annual inspection sticker (if it is prescribed), or other prescribed proof of inspection instead.

Section 165 of the Act prohibits unsafe practices respecting opening the door of a motor vehicle. Currently, the general penalty in section 214 of the Act, which imposes a fine of between $60 and $500, applies to contraventions of this section. The section is amended to provide that the penalty on conviction is a fine between $300 and $1,000.

Currently, subsection 109 (7.1) of the Act allows certain prescribed combinations of vehicles to have a maximum length of 25 metres. This is amended to allow a maximum length of 27.5 metres.

Current subsection 151 (5) of the Act prohibits driving on the paved shoulder of any part of the King’s Highway except in accordance with section 151 and a regulation made under it. This is amended to apply only to parts of the King’s Highway that are designated.

Clause 154 (1) (a) of the Act is re-enacted to provide that a vehicle not be driven from one lane to another lane or to the shoulder, or from the shoulder to a lane, unless the driver first ascertains that it can be done safely.

Current section 159 of the Act requires drivers to slow down and move into another lane when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle with its red or red and blue lights flashing. Section 159 is amended to require drivers to do the same for a tow truck stopped with its amber lights flashing.
Current section 159 of the Act requires drivers to slow down and move into another lane when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle with its red or red and blue lights flashing. Section 159 is amended to require drivers to do the same for a tow truck stopped with its amber lights flashing.

Current section 159 of the Act requires drivers to slow down and move into another lane when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle with its red or red and blue lights flashing. Section 159 is amended to require drivers to do the same for a tow truck stopped with its amber lights flashing.

Sections 160 and 178 of the Act, which prohibit persons from attaching themselves to and being towed by a vehicle or street car on a highway while riding or operating various devices (bicycles, toboggans, roller skates, etc.), are amended to include skateboards, in-line skates and any other type of conveyance.

To address ambiguous wording, the proposed legislation would also require that only school buses can be painted chrome yellow.
To address ambiguous wording, the proposed legislation would also require that only school buses can be painted chrome yellow.

Section 175 of the Act is amended to provide, in new subsection (3.1), that a bus that is painted chrome yellow must also have all the other markings of a school bus.

Current section 199.1 of the Act deals with vehicles classified as irreparable, rebuilt and salvage. The section is amended as follows: the Registrar is required, rather than merely empowered, to classify a vehicle as irreparable or salvage where the vehicle is classified as the equivalent to irreparable or salvage by a jurisdiction specified in the regulations; the right to make a submission respecting a classification is limited to the person who held the vehicle portion of the permit at the time of the event that led to the vehicle’s classification and who continues to hold it; the Registrar may appoint a reviewer to consider the submissions; and the submissions must be accompanied by a fee required by the reviewer.

Current section 211 of the Act requires that all suspended driver’s licences be returned immediately to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. This is amended so that a licence need not be returned if it is suspended under a provision specified by regulation. Consequential amendments are made to sections 35 and 212.

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.

LocationWhat is banned?DemeritFine
B.C.Hand-held devices, plus novice drivers using hands-free equipment3$167
AlbertaHolding or viewing a communications device, reading, writing and any other distractionNone$172
Sask.Hand-held communication equipment, plus novice drivers going hands-free4$280
ManitobaHand-held electronic devicesNone$199.80
OntarioHand-held wireless communication devicesNone*$280*
QuebecHand-held devices that include a phone function, plus using it hands-free3$115-154
N.B.Hand-held electronic devices3$172.50
Nova ScotiaHand-held cell phones, plus text messaging on any deviceNone$164-$337
P.E.I.Hand-held wireless communication devices3$250-400
N.L.Hand-held cell phones, plus text messaging on any device4$100-400
YukonHand-held devices for talking, texting and emailing, plus graduated licence holders can’t go hands-free3$250
N.W.T.Hand-held electronic devices3$100
NunavutNone
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.

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