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A $50K fine has been introduced in Ontario as one of many new and increased penalties for careless driving.

The increased fine is part of a proposed amendment to the current Highway Traffic Act (Ontario) in order to protect the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. The array of new penalties targets both careless and distracted drivers, and is expected to be introduced later in 2017.

Who Do The Changes Affect?

The increased penalties aim to hold drivers more accountable for their actions.

For example, careless driving includes illegal left turns. Distracted driving includes checking your phone while behind the wheel. It does not cover alcohol or drug-related driving offences, which are referred to as impaired driving.

Why Were Penalties Increased?

According to The Globe and Mail, the fines were increased after activist groups, such as Friends and Families for Safe Streets, repeatedly complained that drivers were not punished severely enough for dangerous driving offences.

In the same story, TGAM reports that over 450 pedestrians and cyclists have been killed by motor vehicle collisions in Ontario in the last five years.

According to the Ontario government, one person is killed on Ontario roads every 17 hours.

What Are The New Penalties?

The $50K fine specifically applies to careless drivers who caused death or bodily harm. Some of the other penalties for drivers that will roll out over the remainder of the year include:

  • $300 to $1,000 fines for drivers who don’t yield to pedestrians.
  • Increased license suspensions of up to 5 years for distracted drivers
  • 3-day licence suspension for first time distracted offenders
  • G1, G2, M1, M2 drivers could have their licences cancelled

Compensation for injuries caused by distracted or careless drivers can be difficult to litigate in the absence of video recordings, witnesses or other supporting evidence such as cell phone records. It’s important to contact a legal professional to identify the compensation you may be owed as a result of an injury caused by someone’s careless or distracted driving.

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