Toronto, Sep 22 (Canadian-Media): Ontario Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca and provincial Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Eleanor McMahon -- joined by Han Dong, MPP for Trinity-Spadina -- on Sep 21 in Toronto announced new tougher rules for road safety, Ontario News Release of Sep 21 said.
Ontario hoped that the introduction of new legislation this fall, if passed, would reportedly protect pedestrians and cyclists from fatalities or injury by impaired, distracted and dangerous drivers.
Ontario reportedly had passed a legislation in May to protect pedestrians and cyclists -- the most vulnerable -- by reducing default speed limits, and by setting speed limits below 80 km/h that are designated as community safety zones or in school zones.
In June 2015, another legislation reportedly was passed by Ontario which to reportedly toughen penalties for offences such as distracted driving.
A road safety symposium was hosted by The Ministry of Transportation hosted in June which was reportedly participated by many municipalities and road safety partners to discuss road safety mdeasures and concerns to help to save lives on Ontario’s roads.
The proposed measures included: Penalties including fines, licence suspension and imprisonment for a new offence for imparied or careless driving causing death or bodily harm; tougher penalties for distracted driving by using a cellphone while operating a vehicle, including higher fines, more demerit points, and license suspensions; Increased penalties for drivers who do not yield to pedestrians and increasing fines for drivers, convicted of multiple charges for pedestrian-related offences within a five-year window; and promoting the use of rear flashing blue lights for enforcement and emergency vehicles.
These strong measures and penalties would be applicable, said the reports, for drivers under the influence of drugs, including cannabis.
“Ontario is taking action to reduce the number of people killed by impaired, distracted and dangerous drivers. These measures will help keep some of our most vulnerable road users safe and help us drive home the message that dangerous, impaired and distracted driving is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated,” Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation was quoted by the media as saying.
According to official reports, one person on average is killed on Ontario’s roads every 17 hours.
Approximately 25 percent of Ontario’s road fatalities In 2014 were reportedly pedestrians and cyclists.
Top-five killers on Ontario’s roads are reportedly due to drunk driving, although -- according to Ontario's most recent roadside survey -- drivers who tested positive for drugs more than doubled the number who tested positive for alcohol.
Authorites feel that Ontario's roads, which have reportedly been ranked either first or second safest in North America for 16 years in a row, should do more for Ontario road's safety.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)