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Ontario to stiffen penalties for dangerous driving and endangering pedestrians

Saturday September 1, 2018

Pedestrians walk between cars blocking the intersection of Front and York Streets, near Union Station. The Ontario government announced Thursday tougher penalties for careless driving and endangering pedestrians. (John Rieti/CBC)

Government to introduce a new charge and tougher consequences for existing ones

The Ontario government is introducing a new charge for careless driving and will stiffen penalties for existing dangerous driving charges starting next month.

Drivers convicted under the new charge — careless driving causing bodily harm or death — will face a list of consequences, including a fine ranging from $2,000 to $5,000, six demerit points on their driver's licence, an automatic license suspension of up to five years and up to two years in jail.

"Time and time again we've seen families devastated because a loved one is hurt or killed by a dangerous driver, and the driver walks away with no more than a slap on the wrist," Minister of Transportation John Yakabuski said in a statement released Friday.

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"This new charge sends a clear message that dangerous driving won't be tolerated."

The government also announced it will be toughening penalties for endangering pedestrians. Drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians at crossovers, school crossings and crosswalks will be fined $1,000, up from the current level of $500, and earn four demerit points instead of three.

All of the changes are set to be introduced on Sept. 1.

"The number of pedestrians being injured and killed on our roads has reached a critical level," said Yakabuski. "Tougher penalties help, but we need everyone to step up and do their part by driving safely and responsibly."

According to Toronto police data, there were 151 vehicle collisions where a pedestrian was killed or seriously injured on Toronto streets in 2017.

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