As roads get increasingly congested and vehicle collisions on the rise, it is an excellent time to familiarize yourself with Ontario’s traffic laws. There are many rules people are still either unclear about or fully unaware of. Ignorance is not a defence and disobeying laws, even unintentionally, is dangerous. Many laws have likely changed since you last took your driving test, which is why it is essential to brush up on the road rules now and then. Here are some laws you might not be familiar with:
Just because a pedestrian is on the second half of a crossover, does not mean you can drive through it just yet. As of 2016, that would be illegal to do at crosswalks. If you do not wait for them to make it to the other side, you could face a fine of $150 to $500, with three demerit points. These fines and points could double if you do this in a Community Safety or school zone. While this rule does not usually apply to crosswalks with lights (depending on your municipality), it does if a school crossing guard is present or holding their stop sign.
The rationale behind this law is that if a vehicle on the opposite side sees traffic moving, they might not be aware of a pedestrian still crossing.
As well, you cannot change lanes within 30 metres on a crossover. You will have an obstructed view of the crossover and could hit a pedestrian.
Speaking of changing lanes, it is actually perfectly legal to cross a solid line while on a highway. The line is simply there to alert drivers that it might not be safe to pass in that area. Although, you can still be charged for making an unsafe pass if an accident results from your lane change. Changing lanes in an intersection is also not illegal (unless within 30 metres of a crossover as stated above). Again, it is still ill-advised to do so as it increases your chances of getting into an accident.
Ignoring the Countdown Clock
This rule applies to pedestrians who cross an intersection when the countdown clock has already started. It is illegal to do this, but it can be a controversial law to enforce since some countdowns begin as soon as the light turns green. The idea behind this law is that the countdown can single to drivers that it is safer for them to turn right when the light is red than when the walk light is still on. The countdown also signals to pedestrians that are already walking on the crosswalk how much time they have left – not to show people who have not started whether they have enough time to sprint across.
For decades now, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more is considered a criminal offence while driving with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08 is regarded as the warning range. This means if your BAC is more than 0.05 you will face severe penalties like immediate suspension and vehicle impoundment. This is still the case today with even less room for error. Before, police needed reasonable suspicion of impaired driving to conduct a breathalyzer but, now, they can demand a breath sample from any stopped driver. New laws from a bill passed in 2018 have also increased maximum prison terms for impaired driving offences from five years to 10 years.
If you find yourself in the gray area of traffic law, call Bulwark Legal Services. Our team of experienced lawyers will ensure you end up with the best possible outcome for your case.