Category Archives: Trafic Tickets

Ontario to toughen penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana

Ontario to toughen penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana

marijuanaOntario will have a zero tolerance policy toward young drivers and truckers who use marijuana.
Premier Kathleen Wynne has said that commercial truckers, drivers 21 and under, and novice motorists will face stiff penalties if caught behind the wheel after using cannabis.
For a first occurrence young drivers and G1, G2, M1, and M2 licence holders will face a three-day suspension and a $250 fine.
A second occurrence will result in a week-long suspension and a $350 fine with all subsequent offences penalized with a 30-day suspension and a $450 fine.
Similarly, commercial drivers will face three-day suspensions any time they are caught and fined up to $450.
All other drivers found to be within the blood-alcohol concentrate range of up to .08 will face suspensions of between three and 30 days and fines of up to $450.
Those with blood-alcohol concentrate levels above .08 face 90-day suspension and $550 fines.
“There is no excuse for impaired driving — whether it is due to drugs or alcohol,” said Wynne.
MADD Canada’s Andrew Murie said marijuana is by far the most-seen drug in fatal accidents.
Murie said he was hopeful upcoming oral-fluid road tests will help reduce cannabis use by drivers.
Read more: LCBO to run 150 marijuana stores
Ontario is prepping reefer awareness campaign on the dangers of marijuana as legalization date approaches

Poll says Ontarians are high on government control of marijuana retailing
Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said it’s necessary to “introduce harsher consequences for those who choose to drive while impaired” — by drugs or alcohol.
“All of these measures are in addition to federal criminal charges for impaired driving, which ultimately could result in a loss of licence, additional fines, or jail time,” said Del Duca.
“Let me be clear: driving while impaired is not acceptable and will not be tolerated,” he said.
MADD Canada’s Andrew Murie noted that “by far cannabis is the leading drug when it comes to road fatalities when drugs are present.”
“So there are lot of things we need to do,” said Murie, adding he was hopeful upcoming oral-fluid road tests would help discourage marijuana use by drivers.
The tests, which examine THC levels in saliva, still must be approved by the federal government and it’s unclear how effective they will be in cold weather. Most U.S. jurisdictions use blood tests.
Progressive Conservative MPP Michael Harris (Kitchener-Conestoga) said the government will “need to provide police with the needed resources to keep our streets safe.”
Harris noted the Ontario Provincial Police has estimated it will need up to 500 specially trained officers to enforce the law. Currently, only 83 are trained to recognize drug-impaired driving.
“The Ontario PCs will continue to listen and consult with law enforcement, public health, and community groups on this issue. We can’t afford to not get this one right,” he said.
Ontario Trucking Association president Stephen Laskowski said the government’s moves “are a very positive first step.”
“Historically when you compare commercial drivers to the general population it’s always much lower in commercial drivers,” said Laskowski.
“So what this does today is make sure the historical level of excellence we have in this area, we have it moving forward post-July 1, 2018,” he said.
“We saw that in eight U.S. states where cannabis is legal those states have matched the legal age for using cannabis with the legal age for drinking alcohol — and so with that consultation under our belt we decided to move forward with that same model setting the age at 19,” she said.
Similarly, the penalties for marijuana-impaired motoring will be modeled on drunk-driving laws.
The province is using the impending legalization as an opportunity to also beef up drinking-and-driving penalties — with an eye on young motorists.

Ref : www.thestar.com

DISTRACTED DRIVING

DISTRACTED DRIVING

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What counts as distracted driving

When you aren’t focused on the road, things can happen fast.

Using your phone to talk, text, check maps or choose a playlist while you’re behind the wheel all count as distracted driving – and they put you and others at risk.

Other activities like eating, reading or typing a destination into a GPS are also dangerous when you’re behind the wheel.

It doesn’t matter if you’re on a highway or stopped at a red light – distracted driving could cost you.

Distracted driving statistics

In Ontario, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000.

Ontario data on collisions from 2013 show:

  • one person is injured in a distracted-driving collision every half hour
  • a driver using a phone is four times more likely to crash than a driver focusing on the road

Penalties for distracted driving

The easiest way to avoid penalties for distracted driving is to not use a hand-held device when you’re behind the wheel.

It’s against the law to use hand-held communication (e.g. your phone) and electronic entertainment devices (e.g. DVD player, e-reader) while driving.

In fact, simply holding a phone or other device while driving is against the law.

You can use:

  • hands-free device (e.g. Bluetooth) but only to turn it on and off
  • mounted device (e.g. phone, GPS) as long as it is secure  – not moving around while driving

If convicted, the penalty you face depends on the kind of licence you hold and how long you’ve been driving.

Drivers with A to G licences

If you have an A, B, C, D, E, F and/or G licence, you’ll face bigger penalties when convicted of distracted driving:

  • a fine of $490, if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)
  • a fine of up to $1,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose
  • three demerit points

Novice drivers

If you hold a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence, and are convicted of distracted driving, you’ll face the same fines as drivers with A to G licences. But you won’t receive any demerit points.

Instead of demerit points you’ll face:

  • a 30-day licence suspension for a first conviction
  • a 90-day licence suspension for a second conviction
  • cancellation of your licence and removal from the Graduated Licensing System (GLS) for a third conviction
  • to get your licence back you’d have to redo the GLS program

Careless driving

You could face more charges – for careless driving – if you endanger other people because of any kind of distraction. This includes distraction caused by both hand-held (e.g., phone) or hands-free (e.g., Bluetooth) devices.

If convicted of careless driving, you may receive:

  • six demerit points
  • fines up to $2,000 and/or
  • a jail term of six months
  • a licence suspension of up to two years

You could even be charged with dangerous driving – a criminal offence that carries heavier penalties, including jail terms of up to 10 years for causing bodily harm or up to 14 years for causing death.

Tips to avoid distracted driving

Use any of these tips to avoid distracted driving and its penalties:

  • turn off your phone or switch it to silent mode before you get in the car
  • put it in the glove compartment (lock it, if you have to) or in a bag on the back seat
  • before you leave the house, record an outgoing message that tells callers you’re driving and you’ll get back to them when you’re off the road
  • some apps can block incoming calls and texts, or send automatic replies to people trying to call or text you
  • ask a passenger to take a call or respond to a text for you
  • if you must respond, or have to make a call or send a text, carefully pull over to a safe area
  • silence notifications that tempt you to check your phone

Calling 911

In an emergency, you can use your phone to call 911, but be sure to pull off the road to a safe area.

Ref. mto.gov.on.ca

Safe Pedestrians

Safe Pedestrians

yieldIt is up to both drivers and pedestrians to keep everyone safe on Ontario roads. Learn more about how to stay safe as a pedestrian and as a driver.

For pedestrians
• Cross only at marked crosswalks or traffic lights. Don’t cross in the middle of the block or between parked cars.
• Make sure drivers see you before you cross. If the driver is stopped, make eye contact before you step into the road.
• Wear bright or light-coloured clothing or reflective strips, especially at dusk or when it’s dark.
• At a traffic light:
• Cross when traffic has come to a complete stop.
• Begin to cross at the start of the green light or “Walk” signal, where provided.
• Do not start to cross if you see a flashing “Do Not Walk” symbol or the light turns yellow. If you already started to cross, complete your crossing in safety.
• Never cross on a red light.
• Watch for traffic turning at intersections or turning into and leaving driveways.
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For drivers
Pay special attention to pedestrians as you drive. Here are some tips to follow:
• Always look for pedestrians, especially when turning.
• Watch for children. Drive slowly and cautiously through school zones, residential areas, or any other area where children could be walking or playing.
• Watch out for Community Safety Zone signs that indicate areas where public safety is a special concern, including the possibility of encountering pedestrians.
• Be patient, especially with seniors or pedestrians with disabilities who need more time to cross the road.
• Drive carefully near streetcar stops with islands or zones for passengers getting on and off. Pass them at reasonable speeds, and always be ready in case pedestrians make sudden or unexpected moves.
Fines
Drivers will be fined $150 to $500 and 3 demerit points for offences at pedestrian crossings, school crossings and at crosswalks where there are traffic signals. The maximum fine for running a red light – a practice that puts pedestrians at risk – is $200 to $1000.
Fines are doubled in Community Safety Zones, near schools and public areas. These areas are clearly marked with signs.
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For parents
Show your children how to cross a road safely. Teach them to:
• Stay to the side of the road, walking as far away from traffic as they safely can
• Stop at the edge of the sidewalk, and look both ways before crossing the road
• Take extra care on roadways that have no curbs
• Watch out for blind corners (for example, a car coming out of an alley may not see a child pedestrian about to cross).

Ref. mto.gov.on.ca

Impaired driving – It is a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada

Impaired driving – It is a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada

accident

Impaired driving means operating a vehicle (including cars, trucks, boats, snowmobiles and off-road vehicles) while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

It is a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada and the consequences are serious. You may:

  • lose your licence
  • have your vehicle impounded
  • need to pay an administrative monetary penalty
  • need to attend an education or treatment program
  • be fined upon conviction
  • be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle
  • spend time in jail
  • end up with a criminal record

Ontario is a leader in combating impaired driving through some of the toughest laws and programs in North America.

Drinking and driving

Even one drink can reduce your ability to react to things that happen suddenly while you are driving. The effects of alcohol include blurred or double vision, impaired attention and slowed reflexes. Your life and the lives of others can change forever if you drive after drinking alcohol.

Blood alcohol concentration

The amount of alcohol in your body is measured by the amount of the alcohol in your blood. This is called blood alcohol concentration, or BAC. Once you take a drink, there is no way to guess what your BAC is.

Many factors can affect your blood alcohol level including:

  • how fast you drink
  • whether you are male or female
  • your body weight
  • the amount of food in your stomach

In Ontario and the rest of Canada, the maximum legal BAC for fully licensed drivers is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood (0.08). Driving with BAC over 0.08 is a criminal offence.

Warn range

In Ontario, your BAC does not have to be over the 0.08 legal limit to result in serious consequences. If you register a BAC from 0.05 to 0.08 (commonly referred to as the warn range), you will face provincial administrative penalties.

Drug impaired driving

Drug impaired driving is illegal. Drugs can also impair your ability to drive. This is true for both illegal drugs and prescription or over-the-counter medication.

Tips to avoid impaired driving

There are simple steps you can take to avoid driving while you’re impaired by drugs or alcohol:

  • make sure you have a plan to get home safely
  • ask your doctor or pharmacist about side effects related to driving when using prescription medication
  • read the information on the package of any prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicine, including allergy and cold remedies
  • ask your doctor or pharmacist about how a prescription drug could affect you- drugs and alcohol together can impair your driving even more than either one alone

Remember, fatigue and stress will also affect your ability to drive safely.

Provincial Administrative Consequences for Alcohol and/or Drug Impaired Driving

Zero BAC

The Zero BAC law means that certain drivers cannot have any presence of alcohol in their blood while they drive. This law applies to:

  • all drivers age 21 or under
  • novice drivers of any age

If you are caught with a BAC above zero, here is what will happen:

  • your driver’s licence will be suspended on the spot for 24 hours
  • if convicted, your driver’s licence will be suspended again for at least 30 days and you will receive a $60-$500 fine

If you are a novice driver and have your licence suspended for drinking and driving, your licence could be cancelled. You will also have to retake all your driving tests and repay all the fees.

If your BAC tests in the Warn Range (0.05 – 0.08) or you fail a Standard Field Sobriety Test:

Number of instances Consequences
First time ·         3-day roadside licence suspension
(cannot be appealed)

·         $180 administrative monetary penalty

Second time (within 5 years) ·         7-day roadside licence suspension
(cannot be appealed)

·         Mandatory education program

·         $180 administrative monetary penalty

Third and subsequent times (within 5 years) ·         30-day roadside licence suspension
(cannot be appealed)

·         Mandatory treatment program

·         Six-month ignition interlock

·         $180 administrative monetary penalty

If you test over the legal limit of 0.08 OR refuse a drug or alcohol test OR you are deemed impaired following the results of a Drug Recognition Expert evaluation:

  • 90-day licence suspension
  • $180 administrative monetary penalty
  • 7 day vehicle impoundment

Post-Conviction Consequences for Alcohol and/or Drug Impaired Driving

If you are convicted criminally of impaired driving:

Number of instances Penalties
First time ·         Mandatory education or treatment program

·         1 year minimum requirement to drive a car equipped with an ignition interlock device

·         No minimum jail sentence

·         $1,000 fine

·         Licence suspended for minimum 1 year*

Second time ·         Mandatory education or treatment program

·         3 year minimum requirement to drive a car equipped with an ignition interlock device

·         30-day minimum jail sentence

·         Fine amount at the discretion of the judge

·         Licence suspended for minimum 3 years

Third and subsequent times ·         Mandatory education or treatment program

·         Variable interlock periods (depending on sequence of prior convictions)

·         120-day minimum jail sentence

·         Fine amount at the discretion of the judge

·         Lifetime licence suspension (can be reduced to 10 years if certain conditions are met)

Penalties for impaired driving convictions.

*The Reduced Suspension with Ignition Interlock Conduct Review Program allows eligible drivers convicted for the first time of an alcohol impaired driving offence under the Criminal Code to reduce their licence suspension in return for meeting specific requirements, such as the mandatory installation of an approved ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

Ref: mto.gov.on.ca

Drive According To Road Conditions

Drive According To Road Conditions. . .

snowyroads

Check your vehicle
Get your vehicle winter-ready with a maintenance check-up. Carry an ice scraper and washer fluid effective to -40oC. Keep your fuel tank at least half full. Consider installing four winter tires. You’re eligible for an auto insurance discount if you use them!
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Plan ahead, use your judgment
Plan your trip, locate your stops and check the weather. Check road conditions and closures on our website, Twitter account or call 511 for hands- free voice-activated service. Use your judgment too – delaying your trip may be the best option. If you’re on the road when conditions worsen, find a safe place to pull well off and wait.
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Be prepared
Have emergency supplies with you – a charged cell phone, non-perishable food, water, flashlight, blanket, warm clothes, jumper cables, shovel and traction mats or sand.
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Slow down, stay alert and in control
Many winter collisions occur because drivers are going too fast for road conditions. Slow down and allow extra space between you and other vehicles.
Focus on your driving and put away cell phones and other distractions. Look for reflections on the road – what looks like water may actually be ice.
Steer gently on curves and in slippery conditions. Hard braking, quick acceleration and abrupt gear changes can cause you to skid. Avoid using cruise control on wet, snowy or icy pavement – it reduces your reaction time and vehicle control. If you do skid, release your brakes and steer in the direction you want to go. Be careful not to over steer.
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Share the road and watch for snowplows
Avoid crowding into the lane of on-coming traffic – this can result in head-on collisions.
Drive slowly near working snowplows and don’t pass them – it’s dangerous. Be patient and give them room. They will pull off once they reach the end of their route.
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Obey road closures
Do not drive on closed roads – it’s against the law. Always obey emergency closure signs and follow the directions of police officers. Remember – the roads are closed for your safety!

Car troubles
If you experience car trouble, we recommend that you stay in your vehicle to avoid personal injury.
It is dangerous to stop on the shoulder of a 400- series highway and this should be done only in an emergency. If you must stop, drive unto the shoulder. In non emergency situations, exit the highway at an interchange or the nearest service center.
On any other roadway, drivers must be off the road, not impeding traffic and lawfully parked to use a mobile phone or hand held device.
It is illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial or email using a hand-held mobile phone and other hand-held communications and entertainment devices. Using a hand-held device while driving carries a fine of $490.00 and 3 demerit points. Hands-free use and emergency calls to 911 are allowed.

Remember, dialing 911 on your cell phone will connect you with the nearest emergency services contact centre. Please use 1-888-310-1122 for non-emergencies. 

Ref: http://www.ontario.ca/winterdriving

HOV lanes

Using HOV Lanes Correctly

signThere are many people who use the HOV lanes incorrectly. Although they  know the requirement in order to use these lanes, they take the chance on using them and risk being caught and charged. There are some of those who are using them incorrectly who will weave in and out of these lanes whenever they think that they see a police car. This can be so dangerous as they suddenly will cut in front an unsuspecting  motorist without  any indication or warning , thereby risking a potential accident and injuries or death not only to themselves but to the other unsuspecting motorists and their passengers if any. If you use the highway, you see this every single day. People, if you are in a hurry, then leave your home a little earlier to ensure that you get to where you are going safely. It is not worth risking your life and that of unsuspecting people who are going about their travels in a proper way.

Remember that being charged can involve severe fines , license suspension, possible imprisonment and insurance problems.

Here are the requirements for using HOV lanes :

You can use an HOV lane if you have at least two people (including the driver) in one of these vehicles :

  • cars
  • motorcycles
  • vans or light trucks
  • commercial trucks less than 6.5 meters long with a gross weight of 4,500 kg or less.

If you are towing a trailer, you can still use the HOV lane if the combined vehicle-trailer length is less than 6.5 meters.

The following vehicles have unrestricted access to HOV lanes, no matter how many passengers they are carrying :

  • buses of all types
  • licensed taxis and airport limousines until June 30, 2018
  • emergency vehicles
  • vehicles with Ontario green licence plates

The penalty for improper HOV lane use is a fine of $110 and 3 demerit points.
Also, there are many people who are elderly and still drive and who despite the speed limits posted on the highways refuse to go with the limits allowed. For example, they will remain at 40 km even though it is 70 km. They also do not seem to care what lane they are in, whether it is the fast lane or not.  I know that they have a valid licence and I have no problem with elderly people driving , since I am elderly myself, but if they do not want to speed up, then they should stay off the highways and keep to the regular roads . The reason being that some drivers following them on the highway become very irritable and their subsequent actions can intimidate them and cause accidents and injuries not only to them but to other innocent drivers on the highways. It must be noted however that in no way does this apply to all elderly drivers but rather only to quite a few of them.

School bus safety for students and drivers

School bus safety for students and drivers

boySchool bus travel is very safe in Ontario. Injuries and fatalities, which are very rare, happen more often outside the school bus as students are boarding and leaving the bus or crossing the street.
It’s important for motorists, parents, caregivers and students to know how to keep children safe when they are on and around school buses.
Drivers: know the rules
When driving on a road WITHOUT a median:
•    drivers traveling in both directions must stop for a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing
•    when you approach the bus from the front, stop at a safe distance to let children get on or off the bus and cross the road
•    don’t move forward until the red lights have stopped flashing or the bus begins to move When driving on a road WITH a median:
•    traffic coming from the opposite direction is not required to stop.
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Fines:
Drivers can be charged if they pass a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing:
•    First offence: $400 to $2,000 and six demerit points..
•    Each following offence: $1,000 to $4,000, six demerit points and possible jail time (up to six months)
Vehicle owners can be charged if their vehicle illegally passes a stopped school bus, even if they weren’t driving.
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Students: Stay safe
School bus travel is very safe in Ontario. Injuries and fatalities, which are very rare, happen more often outside the school bus as students are boarding and leaving the bus or crossing the street.
Parents, help keep your children safe by talking about bus safety with them.
When you board or leave a bus
•    Be at the bus stop before the bus comes.
•    Wait in a safe place well back from the edge of the road – don’t play in ditches or on snow       banks.
•    Stay out of the DANGER ZONE. If you can touch the bus, you’re too close. Use 10 giants steps to take you out of the DANGER ZONE, and make sure you and the bus driver can see each other.
•    Always cross the road in front of the bus, never behind.
•    Look all ways and wait for the driver to signal before you cross in front of a bus.
•    Walk at least 10 big steps from the front of the bus.
•    Enter or exit the bus in single file. Never push or shove.
•    Walk – never run – across the road.
•    NEVER stop to pick up anything that you may have dropped in the DANGER ZONE. Ask an adult or the bus driver to help.
While on the bus
•    Find a seat right away. Stay seated, facing forward at all times.
•    Don’t put things in the aisle.
•    Never distract the bus driver. Always follow his or her instructions.
•    Don’t eat or drink.
•    Don’t yell, push people or throw things.
•    Keep your arms and head inside the bus.
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Reporting Drivers Who Don’t Stop
You can report a vehicle that doesn’t stop properly for a school bus to police immediately by calling 911.
You can also go to the nearest police station and file a complaint. The police will ask you:
1.    The date and time of the incident.
2.    The vehicle’s make, model, colour and licence number.
3.    Who was driving?
4.    Was the bus a “chrome yellow” school bus with the words “School Bus” at both the front and rear of the bus?
5.    Was it a small or a large school bus?
6.    Was the school bus stopped?
7.    Were the upper red lights of the school bus flashing while it was stopped?
8.    Were there passengers boarding or leaving the school bus?
9.    Did the vehicle pass the school bus from behind or was it coming toward the bus in the opposite lane?
Other details can also help, such as witness accounts or photographs.
Ref: mto.gov.on.ca

DISTURBING TRENDS

DISTURBING TRENDS . . .

crossing

People are still not obeying the new law which came into effect Jan. 1 /16 , which deals with pedestrians on crosswalks. They take chances on not being caught.  What is the hurry when you can endanger people’s lives ? If you need to get somewhere on time or in a hurry, then leave your home a little early as you never know what the traffic conditions are like and therefore you would not have to take foolish chances which you will later regret. The law clearly states that you have to wait until the crosswalks have been completely cleared on pedestrian controlled crosswalks . The law was implemented for a reason. It is because there had been too many accidents caused by motorists who were crossing while pedestrians were still on the crosswalks. Therefore, please obey the law and have consideration to your fellow citizens. These accidents  cause injuries or deaths and may involve children as well. I do not believe that you would want to carry this unnecessary guilt with you for the rest of your life. Needless to say, you will also have a criminal record and your insurance rates would also be severely hiked.

People who put their indicators on and do not wait until it is safe to change lanes. They think that once they put them on , then it becomes their right to change lanes instead of waiting until it is safe to do so. This causes many accidents or near accidents which can involve several vehicles and in some cases result in serious injuries or even death to several people. This can have very bad repercussions on you, not only with police charges laid against you but also from your insurance.

Why do people need to put such heavily tinted glass in their car ?. In the first place, it is very unsafe to other drivers on the road as it obscures some of their vision , and secondly, you can be charged for so doing.
I also do not understand the benefit of this other than for style or to hide whoever is in the car. Why is this necessary ? It certainly is not stylish but rather foolish. Stay at home if you do not want anyone to see you. A little tint maybe ok for glare , but then again you can always wear a pair of shades if you feel you need more.

TRAFFIC CONSUMER INFO . . .

TRAFFIC CONSUMER INFO . . .

accident

I believe that the following  information is important to consumers  so that they are aware of upcoming changes and are better able to protect themselves :
The provincial government has announced changes for the towing industry  in two phases.
The first phase will be effective July 1 , 2016. The second phase will occur in January 2017.
Changes to the Repair and Storage Liens Act takes effect July 1. Storage facilities holding a towed vehicle will have to inform the owner of a lien within 15 days, instead of 60. The expectation is that this policy will improve storage practices.
The bulk of the changes will occur in 2017 and will affect Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act and the Highway Traffic Act. Some of the changes  include a mandatory tow authorization signed by the consumer before service begins; itemized billing ; access to the towed vehicle, at no extra cost , to obtain personal property; full disclosure from providers receiving compensation for the recommendation of a specific facility ; and many more changes.

Also, it has been observed that there are far too many motor vehicle accidents involving cyclists, many of which are not even reported so we may never know the full extent of these accidents or injuries. Many accidents result in some very severe and in some cases, fatal injuries.
With the arrival of cycling season, our streets will be active with cyclists and therefore you should be reminded of the following :
Effective Sept. 2015, new laws were implemented which affected both cyclists and drivers which means that penalties and fines have been increased. The following are changes now in place:
Passing a cyclist – motorists are required to keep a minimum distance of one metre when passing cyclists (where practicable) or face a $ 110 upon conviction.
Dooring a cyclist – checking your side mirror is critical and should always be the first thing you do before opening your door. The minimum fine for ‘dooring’ is $385 and  three demerit points if convicted.
Visibility – Cyclists will face fines of $110 if they do not meet the requirements for lights, reflectors and reflective materials.
Therefore, the following should be done in order to share the road safely with cyclists:
Be aware – Pay attention and make eye contact. Don’t use head phones or mobile devices while driving or cycling.
Ride with traffic – Riding against traffic flow is dangerous, illegal and a leading cause of car-bike collisions. Clearly marked contra flow bike lanes are the only exception to this.
Keep a safe distance – Whether driving beside, behind or in front of a cyclist, ensure there is enough space for everyone to manoeuvre safely.
Wear a helmet – Helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injury for cyclists by 63 to 88 percent.
Be visible – Use reflectors and lights after dark and on cloudy or foggy days. Wear bright or reflective clothing while riding a bicycle.
Be predictable – Signal your intentions and obey traffic signals and signs

Important Changes to Auto Insurance

Important Changes to Auto Insurance
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Important Changes to Auto Insurance  ( as detailed by Financial Services Commission of Ontario) are as follows:

Auto insurance is changing – what you need to do

All owners of vehicles in Ontario must purchase a standard auto insurance policy. Effective June 1, 2016, to help make insurance premiums more affordable, the benefits and coverages you receive in a standard auto insurance policy changed – some were reduced, and some options for increased coverage were eliminated or changed.

When it’s time to renew or purchase auto insurance on or after June 1, 2016, the standard auto insurance policy you receive from your insurer or broker will have the new lower benefits – unless you act quickly and contact your insurance representative to purchase optional coverages.

FSCO recommends that you do four things to make sure you know what you are getting, and get what you need:

  • Read the “Important Changes to your Policy!”document that came in your renewal package. See if the changes reduce or eliminate something that was important to you, and if so what you can do about it.
  • Compare the new policyto your current policy to see what changes have been made. Remember, if you have benefits from your employer or another policy, you may already have some level of coverage for some or all of the changes made. You should consider these benefits as you review your coverage options.
  • Understand your policy.Call your insurance representative and ask questions, or do some additional reading, to make sure you understand auto insurance or what a coverage means. Make sure you know what options are available to increase or purchase other benefits, or to reduce premiums by increasing deductibles or taking advantage of discounts.
  • Shop around.There are many insurance companies competing on price and service in Ontario, and you should make sure that you compare at least three quotes for the same coverages before making a decision. You may purchase a policy through a licensed insurance broker, insurance agent or from a direct writer. There are many ways to save on auto insurance.

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Standard Auto Insurance Policy

All auto insurance policies will continue to include the following coverages:

  • Third Party Liability
  • Uninsured Automobile
  • Direct Compensation-Property Damage
  • Accident Benefits

In addition, if you previously purchased optional benefits check your policy. Depending on the benefit, the amount of that benefit may have changed to reflect amounts available in the new options.

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Most significant changes

Whether you are buying a new policy or renewing an existing one, you should be aware of the most significant changes to statutory accident benefits:

Benefit Current Policy New Policy
Medical and Rehabilitation for non-catastrophic injuries $50,000  

These benefits have been combined and reduced to $65,000 total

Attendant Care for non-catastrophic injuries $36,000
Medical and Rehabilitation for catastrophic injuries $1,000,000  

 

These benefits have been combined and reduced to $1,000,000 total

Attendant Care for catastrophic injuries $1,000,000

Some important things to remember about these benefits:

  • If you have previously chosen to purchase optional benefits to increase these amounts, check your policy – they may have changed to reflect amounts available in new options.
  • Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care benefits for minor injuries are fixed at a maximum limit of $3,500.

The optional benefits available for Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care have also changed:

Current Optional Benefit Optional Benefit available on or after
June 1, 2016
Non-catastrophic injuries
Medical and Rehabilitation for non-catastrophic injuries $100,000 $72,000 and $100,000 options have been eliminated.

 

New: Combined Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care of $130,000** for non-catastrophic injuries.

 

If you have previously chosen to purchase these optional benefits check your policy or contact your agent or broker – they may have changed to reflect the amount available in this new option.

Attendant Care for non-catastrophic injuries

$72,000

Catastrophic injuries
Not available New: Combined Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care of $1,000,000 for catastrophic injuries only.

The $1,000,000 Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care optional benefit for all injuries (non-catastrophic and catastrophic) remains unchanged. If you have previously chosen to purchase this optional benefit it will appear on your new policy.

The chart below illustrates the overall benefit limits available depending on which optional benefit or combination of optional benefits you purchase, if any:

Options:
Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care
Maximum for
Non-catastrophic injuries
Maximum for
catastrophic injuries
Standard: No options purchased $65,000** $1 million
$130,000 combined (non-catastrophic injuries)* $130,000** $1 million
$1 million (all injuries)* $1 million $2 million
$1 million (catastrophic injuries) $65,000** $2 million
Combinations:
$130,000 combined (non-catastrophic injuries)
+ $1 million (catastrophic injuries)
$130,000** $2 million
$1 million (all injuries) + $1 million (catastrophic injuries) $1 million $3 million

*$130,000 optional combined (non-catastrophic injuries) and $1 million optional (all injuries) cannot be purchased together.

** Duration of benefit is five (5) years for adults.

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Other Optional Benefits

There are many other options available to purchase additional or increased benefits and coverages. The following chart lists some but not all of those and indicates if those options changed on June 1. You can also choose not to increase any benefit or coverage. If you have previously purchased any optional benefits, you should review your renewal documents as they may have changed.

Benefit/Coverage Current Policy New Policy You can choose
Income Replacement benefit  70 per cent of gross income up to $400 per week. No change To increase the weekly limit to $600, $800 or $1,000 per week.
Caregiver benefit Available only for catastrophic injuries: Up to $250 per week for the first dependant plus $50 for each additional dependant. No change To make the same amounts available in current policy for catastrophic injuries available for all injuries.
Housekeeping and Home Maintenance expenses Available only for catastrophic injuries: Up to $100 per week. No change To make the same amounts available in current policy for catastrophic injuries available for all injuries.
Death and Funeral benefits $25,000 lump sum to an eligible spouse; $10,000 lump sum to each dependant; maximum $6,000 funeral benefits. No change $50,000 lump sum to an eligible spouse; $20,000 lump sum to each dependant; maximum $8,000 funeral benefits.
Dependant Care benefit Not provided Not provided To purchase this benefit and add up to $75 per week for the first dependant and $25 per week for each additional dependant to a maximum of $150 per week.
Indexation benefit  Not provided Not provided To add an annual adjustment for inflation for many benefits according to the Consumer Price Index for Canada to your policy.
Third Party Liability $200,000 minimum for claims as a result of lawsuits against you. No change Options exist to increase the minimum amount.
Tort Deductible $36,905.40 deductible for court awarded compensation for pain and suffering (Jan 1-Dec 31, 2016). No change Reduce deductible by $10,000 regardless of annual indexation percentage increases.

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What else is new?

Other key changes include:

 

 

Minor Accident

Insurers can no longer use a minor at-fault accident that occurs on or after June 1, 2016 meeting certain criteria to increase your premiums.  The criteria include that no payment has been made by any insurer, that there are no injuries, and that damages to each car and property were less than $2,000 per car and were paid by the at-fault driver. This provision is limited to one minor accident every three years.
Interest Rate for 

Monthly Payment 

Plans   

The maximum interest rate that insurers can charge if you make monthly premium payments has been lowered from 3% to 1.3% for one year policies, with corresponding reductions for shorter terms.
Comprehensive Deductible The standard deductible for Comprehensive coverage has been increased from $300 to $500.
 

Non-Earner benefit 

The six-month waiting period for people who are not working to receive benefits has been reduced to four weeks. Conversely, benefits can now only be received for up to two years after the accident.
Duration of Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care benefits  For all claimants except children, the amount of time that you can receive this standard benefit is now five years for non-catastrophic injuries, and it will be paid only as long as you remain medically eligible.

Reference…. fsco.gov.on.ca