Ontario has just introduced new legislation to crack down on distracted driving.
The tougher laws include fines from $300 to $1000 if you are found driving while on your cell phone, on top of three demerit points on your license.
Currently in BC, the fine for distracted driving is $167 and a three point penalty.
Many callers to the Simi Sara Show argued that BC’s laws are not tough enough.
“If BC made it even a $2000 dollar fine you’ll still see people texting and driving, what could be so important they need to be on the phone all the time?”
“The fines in BC are too low, and what would really hurt would to have those cellphones taken away. You would start with a day or a week…but the fines, people can always find the money.”
Ontario’s new laws also include a rule that states that motorists can only drive through a cross-walk if it is completely clear of people walking. This is to eliminate cars from slipping through gaps in pedestrians.
Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, says the reasons for the changes are simple.
“We’re looking at motorist safety, we’re looking at cycling safety, but we are also looking at pedestrian safety.”
However, callers said it’s not enough that only drivers are being punished for being distracted.
“Where does responsibility lie with pedestrians? Especially those using their phones…their heads are down, looking at their phones, texting…completely oblivious to the world around them. They’ll just start walking through the crosswalk and won’t even acknowledge cars. Why is all the responsibility on the drivers? ”
“Laws need to spread to pedestrians and cyclists who are distracted. People just need to put their phones down.”
Other new driving laws in Ontario include:
- A $1000 dollar fine and 3 demerit points for drivers who do not check for cyclists before exiting their car and end up “dooring” them
- A $500 dollar fine for cyclists who do not have proper safety lights on their bike
- It is now illegal to tow a skateboard behind a car
- Drivers must give a one-meter gap to cyclists while passing them.
“I think $1000 is rather high. You have to balance between discouraging behavior but also you have to make sure that your enforcement authorities are willing to enforce it.”