Ontario to place further restrictions on young drivers

According to a report in this morning’s Toronto Star, the province of Ontario is going to get tougher on young drivers. Kudos to the province for taking steps to curb the dangerous driving practices of today’s youth. There’s a startling sense of entitlement among many young drivers, who have somewhere along the way forgotten that driving is a privilege, not a right.
(Wow, what’s happening to me? This marks two consecutive blog entries applauding the provincial Liberals.)
According to the Star article, the new rules will include a zero-tolerance approach to speeding. Just one speeding ticket will result in a loss of driving privileges for young drivers. There’ll also be a total ban on alcohol consumption and only one teenaged passenger will be allowed to travel with new drivers. (Forget cell phones and GPS systems, what can be more distracting than a car full of teenagers?)
These are all great steps, which will hopefully go a long way towards re-establishing the ground rules for on-road behaviour. But once again, the question will be just how much teeth the new rules actually have? Unless there’s adequate on-road enforcement, the new legislation won’t make a difference.

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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  • I think there should be zero tolerance for anyone speeding not just the young drivers. I see lots of adults and seniors speeding, and running red lights all the time. I have two teenage drivers at home and they are careful drivers because of all the erractic drivers out there. The college students in my neighbourhood drive like maniacs, speeding through the school zone, and a lot of them are no longer teenagers.
    Again, when was the last time you were pulled over by the police or for that fact drove past a police car doing radar checks. So true enough unless you enforce it, nothing will change. I think it is a great idea to allow one passenger, under the age of 19, unless they are family members. However that being said, a lot of the 19-45 year olds are crazy drivers, why aren’t they being penalized?
    There are a lot of good teenage drivers out there, once again, lets pick on the teenagers and label them all as bad drivers. Lots of them are very responsible, I know what the stats say, but has anyone done stats on the older erratic drivers?

  • Now itll take 4 vehicles to get people to the movies instead of one. Restriction to one passenger is a joke. In addition, a speeding ticket is the duty of the officer, so if he decides he’s having a bad day, well then teenagers are ***** again. This is a joke because some Teenagers dont have the common sense to drive at the right speed. ITS CALLED NATURAL SELECTION.

  • This is a disgrace to the entire purpose of the highway traffic act, and the constitution as a whole. We are discriminating against youths, and why? because the gov’t cannot fulfill their already made responsibilities. What good is a stricter DUI charge, if theres less R.I.D.E. checkpoints and the due diligence is not being enforced by police ENFORCEMENT. Dont forget, this all started because of some teenagers up in muskoka who got smashed (a tab of around 31 drinks if I recall) and drove into a lake. My deepest condolences to the family and friends of those who died, however the father has the balls to go on and use all his energy to try and bring on stronger DUI charges and deterrences by government. Here I hear people talking about how youths feel they are entitled to drive, they feel it is a right not a privilege. Yet this father has not only a right but an absolute DUTY to teach the responsibilites and repercussions of driving drunk. What kind of a house is it, when the son can pull into the driveway, at late hours of the night… the same night that he and his friends consumed an excessive amount of alcohol? how can parents let their children get away with that? The kid should have been to scared to drive home in that condition because of their parents reactions, if they have such disregard towards the rest of the public. The father, is passing his guilt and responsibility onto the ghost… the government, we beleive in gov’t when its convenient for us… but point the finger at them when theres a problem.
    Now dont get me wrong, im not saying government is all good. Just to recap what i’ve said so you dont loose me:
    We have no sense of personal culpability as a nation, we refuse to take responsibility for our actions as parents, drivers, and members of society.
    Problem 1: Parents dont want to be parents, and think government should do their job for them. The government is NOT in our household, the government does not help, they fix.
    Problem 2: Government does not act, they react. The government needs people bitching and complaining to an intolerable level in order for them to take a stance that a) doesnt piss off more people and b) doesnt cost the crooks in parliament too much money
    Problem 3: These laws are discriminatory and unconstitutional because age is not the prevailing factor here, DRINKING IS, and how dare you say “what’s more distracting then a car full of teenagers”
    lets expand on this one
    we recently passed laws prohibiting the use of electronics in the vehicle (texting, messaging, holding a phone to our ear) and now hands-free devices are encouraged, which is making no sence… it is our minds eye that is the factor, if we are in a conversation with someone on the phone our mind(regardless of age)focuses on the conversation, rather than the road… and we digress.. point of this sub-rant is that the goverment is saying in this legislation is is not the conversation or third party that causes distraction, it is the mobile devices… this is entirely contradictory to this new law targeting youths with a DUI spin
    How are phone calls with people not near you okay… but talking to a person in your car, who is more aware of your blind spots (provided they sit in the back… which’ll never be used thanks to this bullshit law) then you are is DISTRACTING
    how? why?
    this is malicious and counter productive
    if i get some responses i’ll adress the carpooling and family issues… hopefully i get some reactions by jabbing at poor innocent daddy.

  • In a phone conversation with Dalton McGuinty, Tim Mulcahy remarked that ‘with these new laws, Ontario will have the safest roads in the world.’ But if you are between the ages of 16 and 21, they will also be among the most restrictive.
    My friend, CSR expert storyteller Billie Mintz, an innovator in new media production is currently filming an investigative documentary that scrutinizes the distribution of the responsible drinking message. He wants to hear what you think about McGuinty’s proposed new laws? Sound off here on the Toronto Chat Forums.
    The Message in a Bottle is a 12 part web video series which examines the responsibility everyone shares regarding the advertising, sales, purchase and consumption of alcohol.
    The world is changing; Ontario is becoming a safer place, but are we sacrificing freedom for safety?

  • Honestly i think this new law is a joke. There are many of people ages 30 – whatever that go and drink and get wasted then drive. There are many elderly people that drive with diseases that dont allow them to drive. What does the government do? Nothing, that mguinty guy or whoever made this law just freaked because his own son was irresponsible. There is no need to take it out on other youths. Take it out on yourselves.

  • So basically all of those who have actually worked through the graduated system to earn their rights, are now getting them taken away? The graduated system gives drivers more experience and training then ever before. The government still does not think this is enough? I am a 19 year old who has my full G license and has since LAST February. I worked through the system as quickly as possible so I was free from the stupid rules that separate ‘youth’ from ‘adults’. Technically if the government thinks 19 year olds are responsible enough to drink, and that 16 year olds are responsible enough to drive.. then why do they think someone has to be 21 to identify when they are sober enough to drive and when they are not. There are a lot of responsible teenagers out there and this is discrimination against teens. It is not fair that only teens get their licenses taken away when driving 10km over the speed limit! If I have my Full G, which I do why am I not treated like all of the others that have their G’s?

  • The heavy handed, law inventing liberals are at it again. Lets put some thought into this! What about those who reside in rural areas where there is no public transit and often no cab service. If you don’t drive you don’t go! So what is so wrong about a group of hockey players carpooling when it is 10 to 60 miles the the game? Also the 30 days licence suspension for a speeding ticket gives the police officer far too much power. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? And have most of us not made an error in judgement? Maybe those who support this idea should consider a 30 day suspension for all drivers caught speeding as those who are experienced drivers should be more capable of controlling there speed. I am so tired of a society that so willingly gives away our hard fought for rights and privilages and can not help but wonder if our veterans did it all for nothing!

  • James, I think it is true, you have finally lost your mind…while we need to protect and watch over our children this latest proposed restriction is ludicrous. WE don’t need more laws and regulation, we need better education and enforcement and for parents and society to lay down some limits. Limiting the number of teenagers in a vehicle may look good on the paper scheme but think about it in the real world. If we are going to allow this kids to vote, then we need to treat them as adults and hold them accountable, not burden us,enforcement and them with more useless rgulations. McGuintey has truly lost what little mind he had..come to think of it …he NEVER had one!

  • Why would there be stricter punishments for younger drivers.
    These new restrictions include if a person under the age of 19 gets a speeding ticket, they get a 30 day suspension of their license. If an older person gets that same ticket, they might get a fine and a point-deducted. Well THATS fair. What allows the government to lessen the punishment of people over 19? The same offense should be the same punishment. Both parties have had the same training, and passed the same test. No tolerance for alcohol is a good thing, but discriminating because of the age of the driver because of a select few is inexcusable.

  • I have read other info on this topic from the Canadian press. In that news piece they have John Tory saying “….but we have to be careful of the practicalities of living.” also saying
    “In rural Ontario sometimes if you’re going to a hockey game, a movie or just going to school … we have to be careful that we don’t do things that are impractical.”.
    Now take that same sensibility to the law that was passed concerning speeding big trucks and there restrictions. What happened to our practicalities of living out on the road?
    I really don’t get all this new found power in restrictions. We all know that there just being lazy in responsibilities when all they need is more policing, of course it’s easier to save money by putting this all on paper. As for this info from James Menzies I’m kinda disappointed in his applauding. I’m still feeling burned from the speed restrictions. From the same article as mentioned above, why is it the teenagers or parents are more together over this issue than us truckers over the speeding issue?.
    One other thing, why are the “people” letting our freedoms be restricted?
    I’d certainly be one to help fund more police officers, even though I’ve recently been on the opposite side of the breathalyzer.

  • Well James you found another topic of passion.
    Ontario does seem to love applying redundant laws (ie speed limiters). Now a youth losses their license with ONE speeding ticket… zero tolerance with alcohol… and restricting distracting aspects (such as friends). At this rate, by 2020, Ontario legislators will be duct taping the youth and throwing them in the trunk before traveling. Then instead of having yellow triangle signs saying “baby on board” they’ll enforce signs reading “youth in trunk”.
    Not withstanding my sarcasm, I’m actually not really against the Liberals on this one… sort of (really REALLY! sort of). Being tougher on crime, however, is typically not a liberal trait so I can be pro liberal but still retain a philosophical caveat (a little like when Paul Martin balanced the budget).
    You are (of course) bang on with your final statement “…unless there’s adequate on-road enforcement, the new legislation won’t make a difference..”. And this is why I DON’T feel comfortable “siding with the liberals” because I believe it’s just another lip service restraining law without actual intent of honest “enforcement”.
    To the truly “unscrupulous”, written laws are irrelevant anyway (for example “override” switches for the speed limiters). The small amount of irreverent teen drivers will probably just drive without their license anyway.
    To continue my redundancy, written laws don’t change things, enforcement does. However, for those law abiding teens, what will they do now when driving down the 401? Are they to slow down traffic to 100KMH to avoid suspension of their license? That will mean “responsible Ontario ADULTS” will be driving down the 401 like crash bandicoot weaving in and out of lanes avoiding trucks AND teens. Sounds safe! Ontario style!
    I think I got a Liberal idea! Why doesn’t Ontario pass a law or a group of laws that impose teen vehicles with: electronic speed limiters, breathalyzer ignitions, seatbelt ignitions (if someone wasn’t wearing one, or too many the ignition would not work), and finally a heart rate-blood analyzer monitor (measuring testosterone) that would cut the power of the engine and put the hazard lights on when teens got excited. Now THAT would make Ontario roads safer! It would probably reduce GHG emissions to well below Kyoto targets in less than six months, dramatically reduce law enforcement costs (unfortunately plummeting Tim Horton stocks), reduce insurance costs, reduce taxes, balance the budget, improving immigration opportunities while simultaneously bringing world peace.
    Substituting enforcement with more written laws or electronic restrictions apparently has global benefits (notwithstanding Tim Horton’s stocks of course).

  • Hi James I think that any time that we try to keep our youth safe it is a GOOD idea. How ever we need to take a look at drivers that have had a licence for a number of years and have never looked at a drivers handbook, maybe its time to bring these drivers up to speed.The idea of having class AB drivers take a test every 5 years is so that the roads are safer so lets test class GM drivers the same.(i think that we would have a lot of people taking the bus) Please take a little time out of your day and revisit the drevers handbook.Drive safe and respect the driver near you.