BY ASHLEY NEQUEST
Many Ontario residents have been adjusting to new driving regulations since Sept. 1, the day they came into effect. However, others aren’t even aware that changes were made.
One of the biggest changes was to the consequences for those violating the distracted driving law. Prior to Sept. 1, drivers were subject to a $60 to $500 fine. There is now a mandatory $490 fine as well as the addition of three demerit points. Novice drivers, those without a full G licence, will be subject to a minimum 30-day licence suspension.
According to the Ministry of Transportation, it is currently illegal to “operate hand-held communication and electronic entertainment devices while you’re driving” or “view display screens unrelated to your driving” in Ontario.
In addition, drivers will be subject to a $365 fine as well as three demerit points for “dooring” a cyclist or other vehicle. Dooring is when a person in a parked car opens his door, blocking the path or hitting a cyclist or other vehicle with the door of the car.
The third change that will greatly affect drivers, especially around Conestoga College’s Doon campus, is in regards to pedestrian crossovers. This law will not come into effect until January 2016. Under the new legislation, drivers in all lanes will not be allowed to enter an intersection until all pedestrians have crossed from sidewalk to sidewalk.
With the main entrance to Doon campus involving a multi-lane intersection, students should be aware of this upcoming change.
“The new laws are amazing,” said Victoria Amorim, a second-year office administration-executive student. “It is really going to help keep students safe.”
Not all students are as pleased with the legislation, particularly the change in how drivers are expected to handle pedestrian crosswalks.
“I don’t like the crosswalk law,” said Amanda French, a second-year office administration – executive student. “When you’re at a busy intersection, like the one just by campus, and you’re trying to make a left-hand turn only one or two cars can get through because you’re waiting so long for students (to cross the road).”
When asked, four out of five Conestoga College students at the Doon campus were not aware of these new rules of the road, despite many articles being published in the past few months. Of those who were aware of the changes, approximately half said they had to actively search for information on the changes themselves.
For more information regarding the new laws pertaining to road safety, go to www.ontario.ca/home/ontario-government.