The Ontario government is taking strong action to protect road users against unsafe and aggressive driving with the introduction of the Moving Ontarians More Safely Act, 2021, also known as the MOMS Act. The proposed legislation will introduce new measures to combat high-risk driving and improve road safety, including longer driver’s licence suspensions and longer vehicle impoundment periods for drivers who engage in stunt driving, street racing and aggressive driving.
The Ontario government introduced the MOMS Act in the legislature earlier today.
“Both as Minister of Transportation and a parent to driving-aged teens, I am extremely concerned by the rising numbers of young drivers in Ontario caught stunt driving, street racing and driving aggressively,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “By increasing driver’s licence suspensions and vehicle impoundment periods, the MOMS Act sends a clear message to drivers – driving is a privilege and those who threaten the safety of others have no place on our roads.”
If passed by the legislature, the MOMS Act would also introduce measures to protect vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and highway workers, improve truck safety and strengthen the province’s oversight of the towing sector by creating the Towing and Storage Safety and Enforcement Act, 2021. This Act would require tow operators, tow truck drivers and vehicle storage operators to be certified, and set new standards for customer protection and roadside behaviours, including penalties for non-compliance.
“The MOMS Act targets the worst actors on our roads by creating escalating suspensions for repeat offenders and setting a lower speed threshold for stunt driving charges on municipal roads,” said Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA). “With this Act, we are taking concrete action to protect people and families on our roads.”
“Stunt driving and street racing are serious threats that have posed a greater risk to our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “The increased penalties and sanctions proposed under the MOMS Act, along with the creation of the new Towing and Storage Safety and Enforcement Act, will ensure police services across the province have the tools they need to combat high-risk driving on Ontario’s roads.”
The Moving Ontarians More Safely Act, 2021, (MOMS Act) proposes legislative and regulatory changes that would, if passed:
Fight Street Racing/Stunt Driving, and Aggressive and Unsafe Driving
- Increase the roadside driver’s licence suspension and vehicle impoundment periods for drivers caught street racing/stunt driving from seven days each to a 30-day driver’s licence suspension and a 14-day vehicle impoundment.
- Introduce escalating post-conviction driver’s licence suspensions for drivers convicted of street racing/stunt driving:
- For a first offence, a minimum of one to three years
- For a second offence, a minimum of three to 10 years
- For a third offence, a lifetime suspension that may be reduced at a later date to be established by regulation, and
- For fourth and subsequent offences, a lifetime driver’s licence suspension.
- Create a lower speed threshold for stunt driving charges of driving 40 kilometres per hour (km/h) or more above the speed limit on roads where the speed limit is less than 80 km/h.
- Introduce a default speed limit of 80 km/h on a highway not within a local municipality or a built-up area.
Protect Vulnerable Road Users
- Introduce an automated camera enforcement framework to allow photo evidence of vehicles that illegally pass streetcars on the left or streetcars with the doors open to pick up or drop off passengers.
- Change how Ontario collects collision data to better track collisions involving car doors hitting bicycles or e-scooters.
- Redefine “power-assisted bicycles” (e-bikes) under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) to set out new standards for three different styles of e-bikes: bicycle-style, mopeds and motorcycle-style.
Protect Workers on or near Highways
- Authorize MTO Transportation Enforcement Officers to close a road, drive along closed roads and direct traffic as part of their duties when responding to emergencies or assisting in collision investigations.
- Permit the use of automated traffic control devices know as “Automated Flagger Assistance Devices” as an additional traffic control tool in construction zones to reduce the need for construction workers to physically stop traffic themselves.
- Permit vehicles used in highway construction to back up on a divided highway, if the movement is made in safety.
Improve Truck Safety and Industry Standards
- Introduce additional tools to address commercial vehicle drivers who violate hours-of-service rules.
- Clarify dimensional limits for trailers.
- Permit technical standards to be incorporated in the HTA by reference rather than requiring a legislative or regulatory amendment to ensure that the most updated version of standards will be automatically incorporated into the HTA and its regulations – for example, Canadian Standards Association Standard D250 – the manufacturing standard for new school buses.
Strengthen Provincial Oversight of the Towing Sector
- Create the Towing and Storage Safety and Enforcement Act, 2021, (TSSEA) by amending the following statutes:
- Consumer Protection Act, 2002
- Highway 407 Act, 1998
- Highway Traffic Act
- Repair and Storage Liens Act
- Require tow operators, tow truck drivers and vehicle storage operators to be certified under the TSSEA and meet prescribed requirements and standards.
- Set standards for customer protection and roadside behaviours, including penalties for non-compliance.
- Establish a Director of Towing and Vehicle and Storage Standards to provide oversight.