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Ont. proposes fines of up $1K, 3 demerit points for distracted driving

A driver using a cell phone while behind the wheel. GETTY IMAGES/Roll Call/Tom Williams

The Ontario government is cracking down on distracted driving, tabling legislation on Monday that would impose three demerit points and a maximum fine of up $1,000 if convicted.

Transportation Minister Glen Murray said the penalties outlined in the Keeping Ontario Roads Safe Act were determined after consultation with police and the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), as well as other groups.

“If passed this legislation would reduce collisions, injuries and fatalities across Ontario, while improving the safety of all road users,” Murray said.

The legislation also aims to improve pedestrian safety, requiring drivers to yield the whole roadway to pedestrians at school crossings and pedestrian crossovers.

Drivers would also face increased fines if they “door” a cyclist and would be required to keep a distance of at least one metre when passing cyclists.

“Everyone needs to feel safe and protected on our roads and highways,” Murray said.

By the numbers:

Under the proposed legislation fines for distracted driving would be increased from ranges of $60-$500 to $300-$1000 with three demerits points assigned upon conviction.

Fines for “dooring” a cyclist would be upped from $60-$500 to $300-$1000 and demerit points would jump from two to three.

Would these penalties make Ontario roads safer? Share your thoughts in the comments.