Over the past few years, there have been a number of new driving laws put into effect in Ontario. These laws were approved as the “Moving Ontarians More Safely Act”. It’s important to know what the laws are and how they may affect your car insurance premiums. For example, too many tickets will have a big impact on your car insurance rates. Speaking to an isure broker can help you understand how a ticket can affect you. But before you do, our best advice is to understand driving laws and follow the rules of the road.
Street racing and stunt driving
Before the MOMS Act went into effect, the penalty for street racing and stunt driving was a seven-day licence suspension and vehicle impoundment. With the MOMS Act, these offences now result in a roadside 30-day licence suspension, along with no access to your vehicle for 14 days. There are also additional penalties if you face a conviction. After one offence, you will have a licence suspension for 1-3 years; a second offence will suspend your licence for 3-10 years. Three offences may result in lifetime suspensions, and four or more offences will permanently suspend your licence.
Move Over Law
Drivers now need to slow down and move into the next lane if they spot a stopped emergency vehicle with lights flashing. Emergency vehicles include police (blue/red), fire (blue/red), ambulance (blue/red) and tow trucks (amber). If you violate this law, you’ll be hit with a $490 fine, as well as three demerit points.
How does the MOMS Act provide safety on the road?
The MOMS Act applies a variety of safety measures. There is now an installation of cameras inside streetcars to catch drivers who illegally pass. Additionally, drivers will face charges for hitting cyclists when opening their car door. The MOMS Act categorizes E-bikes as bicycle-style, mopeds or motorcycle-style. For truck drivers, new enforcement tools for commercial drivers will be in place. This is specifically for drivers behind the wheel for a longer period of time.
Since 2022, Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation provides specific enforcement police officers with “additional tools” to regulate break time for commercial truck and bus drivers. Officers are able to prohibit drivers from violating service hours for a period of time. This rule helps prevent driver’s fatigue and keep the roads safer. Additionally, dimensional limits for trailers are now clear, and technical standards are now within the HTA. Rather than requiring a legislative amendment to ensure the most up-to-date version of these standards, they will be automatically incorporated.
How the MOMS Act protects vulnerable road users
There are many ways Ontario is working to protect our vulnerable road users. For example, an automated camera framework is being developed, displaying photographic evidence of drivers performing illegal acts. This may include passing streetcars with their doors open or car doors hitting bicycles or e-scooters. This framework will change the way Ontario collects collision data, making it easier than ever to track illegal activity affecting cyclists and pedestrians. Additionally, power assisted bikes, or “e-bikes”, will be covered under the Highway Traffic Act as separate from regular bicycles. The three categories under this Act will be bicycle-style, mopeds, and motorcycle-style.
Protecting road workers on/near highways
In order to protect workers on and near highways, MOMS authorizes MTO transportation enforcement officers to close roads and direct traffic if responding to an emergency. Traffic control devices called “Automated Flagger Assistance Devices” are permitted in construction zones to reduce the need for construction workers to stop traffic. Additionally, permitted vehicles can be used in highway construction to back up on a divided highway, given the movement is made safely.
Finally, the Towing and Storage Safety and Enforcement Act was put into place in 2021. This Act requires tow operators, tow truck drivers, and vehicle storage operators to be certified, meeting prescribed requirements and standards. To learn more about Ontario’s OPP tow program, click here!
Other recent implementations
Beginning back in Spring 2022, the Ontario government extended its current gas tax to December 31st, 2023. This gas tax lowers the price of gas in Ontario by 5.7 cents per litre. Over time, gas prices have dropped significantly, even during the seemingly expensive summer months last year. Cost of fuel can go up to as much as $2/litre, but until the end of 2023, this taxation is still in place.
Please contact us for any questions about how the MOMS Act may affect your car insurance policy! Visit ontario.ca for more detailed information.