Service NL
December 4, 2017

Highway Traffic Act Changes Aim to Strengthen Road Safety

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is continuing to take important steps toward improving public safety by introducing further amendments to the Highway Traffic Act which begin second reading today in the House of Assembly.

The amendments are designed to reduce excessive speeding, stunting and street racing by adding licence suspensions and vehicle impoundments as new penalties. Move over provisions will also be enhanced by requiring drivers to reduce their speed by 30 kilometres per hour below the speed limit and move to an adjacent lane when approaching law enforcement or other emergency vehicles stopped at roadside.

A new offence for driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons causing bodily harm or death has been added to the Highway Traffic Act. The new penalties for this offence are: a minimum fine of $2,000 and a maximum fine of $20,000 or up to two years imprisonment, or both; licence suspension of not more than five years; and six demerit points. The amendments also increase the existing fines for driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons from $120-$480 today to $300-$1,000.

The amendments were developed through consultation with groups such as the Stand for Hannah Foundation and other community stakeholders; the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Fire Services. Road safety is a public health issue, and the proposed changes were developed with injury prevention as a key consideration.

Further details about the amendments are provided in the backgrounder below.

Quotes
“The amendments to the Highway Traffic Act we introduced today are a continuation of our ongoing efforts to improve road safety in our province. Public safety is a priority for our government, and these changes will help further protect the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Honourable Sherry Gambin-Walsh
Minister of Service NL

“I am delighted with the changes that were brought forward today. My daughter paid with her life, and we will suffer for the rest of ours because of an incident on our highway. We need changes like this to prevent other incidents from happening.”
Gail Thorne
STAND for Hannah Foundation

“First responders and other workers put their lives at risk every day when they are working alongside moving traffic on our highways. These changes to the Move Over provision in the Highway Traffic Act will help to protect them from harm so they can go home safe and healthy at the end of their day.”
Duane Antle
President, Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Fire Services

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Learn More
Changes to Highway Traffic Act Support Improved Road Safety:
www.gov.nl.ca/releases/2017/servicenl/1109n09.aspx

New Impaired Driving Legislation Comes Into Force: www.gov.nl.ca/releases/2017/servicenl/0921n03.aspx

Bill 68, An Act to Amend the Highway Traffic Act: http://www.assembly.nl.ca/HouseBusiness/Bills/ga48session1/bill1668.htm external link icon

Legislative Amendments Enhance Enforcement Measures: www.gov.nl.ca/releases/2016/servicenl/0510n01.aspx

Follow us on Twitter: @GovNL external link icon and @ServiceNL_ external link icon

Media contacts
Gina MacArthur
Service NL
709-729-4748, 730-2977
GinaMacarthur@gov.nl.ca

Duane Antle
NL Association of Fire Services
709-425-3494

Gail Thorne
STAND for Hannah Foundation
709-582-3260

BACKGROUNDER

Highway Traffic Act Changes to Strengthen Road Safety

Driving Without Due Care
Bill 27 increases existing fines for driving without due care and attention and for driving without reasonable consideration for other persons (sections 110(1)(b) and (c) of the HTA) from its current range of $120-$480 to $300-$1,000.

Causing Death or Bodily Harm
Bill 27 includes a new offence of driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons causing death or bodily harm and set the following penalties:

  • A minimum fine of $2,000 and maximum fine of $20,000;
  • Up to two years imprisonment; and
  • A licence suspension of not more than five years.

Accompanying regulations will also outline a penalty of six demerit points.

Excessive Speeding
Bill 27 strengthens excessive speeding provisions by:

  • Including separate speeding offences for 31 to 50 kilometres per hour and greater than 50 kilometres per hour over the posted speed limit;
  • Setting higher fines for speeding greater than 50 kilometres per hour over the posted speed limit:
    • Section 110 - fines to be set at $400-$850
    • Sections 110.1 (construction zones) and 110.2 (school zones) - fines to be set at $800 - $1800
  • Adding regulation-making authority to impound vehicles for three days for speeding greater than 50 kilometres per hour over the posted speed limit.

Racing
Bill 27 strengthens racing provisions by imposing additional penalties:

  • A new seven day driver licence suspension for racing on a highway, to be effective the second day after the notice of suspension is given; and,
  • Adding regulation-making authority to impound vehicles for three days for racing.

Stunting
Bill 27 includes new stunting provisions by:

  • Creating a new offence for stunting on a highway;
  • Imposing a new seven-day driver licence suspension for stunting, to be effective the second day after the notice of suspension is given; and,
  • Adding regulation-making authority to impound vehicles for three days for stunting.

Move Over
Bill 27 strengthens move over provisions by:

  • Adding a speed reduction of at least 30 kilometres per hour to a minimum speed of 30 kilometres for vehicles passing stopped emergency or designated vehicles; and,
  • Providing the ability to charge the registered owner.

Proof of Insurance
Bill 27 modifies proof of insurance provisions to:

  • Place the onus on the driver to prove the vehicle they were driving was insured at the time the proof of request was made; and,
  • Place the onus on the person charged with an offence to prove there was an insurance policy at the time of the offence.

Appeal Process
Bill 27 adds a process for appeals to the Registrar for 90-day impaired driving suspensions (BAC of .08 or greater; refusal or failure to provide a sample). The grounds of appeal would be:

  • Identity of the driver, and
  • Medical explanations for failure to provide a sample or refusal to provide a sample.

Bill 27 has also made related amendments to clarify that impaired driving suspensions are imposed by operation of the legislation and not by the Registrar.

2017 12 04                              2:55 p.m.