Canada’s traffic and roadway safety laws are governed by Transport Canada and the Canada Road Safety Directorate in partnership with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators. Transport Canada strives to keep all travelers in the country free from injury and death. The Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Act sets the standards and regulations for drivers and passengers who access Canada’s roadways. As noted by the United States Department of State, each province in Canada can establish its own traffic laws.
Driving With Cell Phones
Although the use of non-handheld cell phones has not been legally banned, drivers are advised not to use a cell phone of any type while driving. Fines for driving while using a handheld cell phone start at $45 and can go up to $180. Drivers are also assessed a driving penalty worth four demerits. The jurisdiction of Newfoundland and Labrador has banned Canadian travelers from driving while holding cell phones. Other jurisdictions have yet to put a ban on using handheld cell phones while driving.
Speed limits across Canada are 50 km per hour in cities and 80 km per hour on highways. The maximum speed that drivers can travel on rural highways is typically 100 km per hour, which is about 60 miles per hour. Each province has the authority to establish its own traffic laws, so adhere to posted speed limits while driving throughout the country. Quebec assesses fines from $60 to $2,000 if you are convicted of distracted driving or speeding. You will also receive demerit points and could have your license suspended, depending on the severity of the offense.
The use of seat belts is required throughout Canada. Children who weigh less than 40 pounds are required to be secured safely in a car seat while situated in a moving roadway vehicle.
In provinces like Ontario, traffic signals alert drivers to school bus zones. Flashing lights in a school zone mean that drivers must stop for a school bus. If you are convicted of failing to stop for a school bus in a flashing school zone, you could be fined $400 to $2,000 for the first offense. You will also receive six demerit points against your driving record. Second offenses receive fines in the range of $1,000 to $4,000. Depending on the severity of the offense, you could also be ordered to serve up to six months in jail.
The minimum age to receive a license in Canada is 16 years. Drivers must pass a vision, road and a knowledge test and complete a graduated licensing program before receiving a license. Some jurisdictions require you to complete an extended graduated licensing program. Ontario requires new drivers to complete the program’s 12-month learner stage, followed by the 24-month novice stage. Teenagers seeking a full privilege, Class 5 driver’s license must be accompanied by an adult 25 years or older who has full license. While training for the full license as a teenager, you can only carry up to two passengers in the vehicle and are limited to driving between 5 a.m. and midnight.