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Driver licence renewal is timed nicely just before your birthday. This is a good reminder that we are about to get a year older, but it's also a great chance to catch up on the changes to the rules of the road over the last year or two.

I was looking at a renewal notice and the insert that came to our house this last week and thought I’d take the chance to go through things that have changed, or that seem to need reminding about.

  1. Drinking and driving laws have changed
  • Drivers 21 and under will face a roadside suspension of 24 hours and on conviction a fine of $500 and a 30 day suspension if they are caught with alcohol in their system
  • All drivers with a BAC of 0.05-0.08 will lose their licence roadside for 3-10 days. Drivers caught more than once face mandatory alcohol education and/or treatment and interlock on their car (at their own expense)
  1. Drivers caught emailing, texting, typing, talking or dialing on a handheld device or entertainment system will face fines of $500
  2. Cars are smoke free zones when children under 16 are on board. The fine is $250
  3. You can get enhanced drivers licences in Ontario to ease car travel to America. REMEMBER they are no good for air travel.
  4. You can book appointments online for most service Ontario services and avoid waiting in line.
  5. Pull over one lane for all emergency vehicles, tow trucks or road crews at the side of the road.
  6. STOP in both directions for school busses that are stopped with lights flashing.
  7. Drive clean is free for the first test now.

Good information all around. We’ve tried the appointment route at our house and I have to say it’s oddly satisfying to walk in and go to the front of the line. It’s far quicker too.

You can deal with most driving related issues at Service Ontario offices, although some require you to go to Drivers and Vehicles offices, or of course, for driver tests you must go to a testing centre. Appointments for driving tests generally need to be made at least a few weeks ahead, and during ‘popular’ times like the end of summer or Christmas there could be a month or more lead time for an appointment that works for you. You can always explore testing at centres other than the one closest to your home if you need a quicker appointment.

For more information check out www.ontario.ca/transportation

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 - 09:46:00 AM EST
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