Most drivers caught on a hand-held device will now be fined up to $1,000 — more than double the current fine. Additional penalties include a three-day licence suspension and three demerit points.
For a second conviction within five years, the maximum fine rises to $2,000, plus six demerit points and a seven-day driver’s licence suspension.
More convictions within that five-year period would be an even bigger hit to the wallet at a fine up to $3,000, six demerit points and a 30-day suspension.
Penalties for having a blood alcohol concentration higher than 0.05, failing a roadside sobriety test or violating the zero tolerance requirements for young, novice and commercial drivers will now be increased to $250 for the first offence, $350 for the second offence and $450 for third and subsequent offences.
There’s also a new $550 penalty for refusing to take a drug or alcohol test if you register a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08 or if a drug recognition evaluator determines impairment.
Additionally, the fee to get your drivers licence reinstated after a suspension has increased from $198 to $275.
Changes to the Highway Traffic Act will expand testing of connected and autonomous vehicles in highway, which the province says will open opportunities for new testing and research and development opportunities.