Here’s What’s Happening With Careless Driving Penalties in Ontario

Published April 16, 2018 at 7:18 pm


The province is amending the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) to introduce tougher penalties for careless driving causing death or bodily harm, and legislation to protect cyclists and pedestrians was introduced at Queen’s Park last fall.

So where does it currently stand?

The new offence for careless driving causing death or bodily harm “is not yet in effect,” Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Bob Nichols told on April 16.

Changes to careless driving causing death or bodily harm will include fines up to $50,000, a licence suspension of up to five years, up to two years in jail, and six demerit points, which aligns with the existing careless driving offence.

This new offence, “along with the other changes to the Highway Traffic Act made by this new Act, will come into force in phases” which are anticipated to be proclaimed over the next 12 to 18 months, Nichols added.

The rollout will allow enough time for needed Information & Information Technology (I&IT) systems changes “to be implemented and for police services to make the necessary operational changes.”

More details will be provided in the coming months regarding the specific effective dates for this new offence, he said.

Ontario passed the Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act on Dec. 12, 2017.

It strengthens existing road safety laws and creates new measures to make roads even safer, especially for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

These measures will aim to help to reduce the number of people killed or injured by impaired, distracted and careless drivers.

A driver being charged for careless driving under the Highway Traffic Act could face six demerit points, a fine and possible jail time, if convicted, Nichols confirmed.  

The maximum fine is $2,000 and maximum jail time is six months. In addition, your driver’s licence can also be suspended for up to two years.            

“This offence will remain in the HTA under section 130(1), in addition to the new careless driving offence for causing death or bodily harm which will be under section 130(3),” Nichols said.

HTA convictions don’t result in a criminal record.

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