Changes to the NWT Motor Vehicles Act to address distracted driving and speeding come into effect May 1

YELLOWKNIFE (April 27, 2016) – As of May 1, 2016, changes to the Motor Vehicle Act will be coming into effect to address the issue of distracted driving and speeding in the Northwest Territories. 

In the past decade, distracted driving has been a major issue in the NWT and across Canada, and the Department of Transportation is continuing to work with enforcement partners to improve safety across the roadway system to reduce collisions, loss of property, and fatalities.

To combat distracted driving, new changes mean that fines may now apply to drivers holding, operating, or even touching a restricted device such as a cell phone. Drivers can now receive driver’s licence suspensions lasting 24 hours, 7 days and 30 days for their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th distracted driving offences in a two year period.

Currently drivers are fined $322 for distracted driving. Beginning May 1, drivers will receive a $644 fine if they drive distracted in school and construction zones. 

Fines for speeding administered under the Motor Vehicles Act are also changing.  Individuals will now be fined in accordance with the exact number of kilometres they are travelling over the speed limit.  Overall, fines for speeding offences are increasing and will continue to be doubled if the offence occurs in school or construction zones.

Quotes

“These changes to the Motor Vehicles Act will help keep our roadways safe. We are happy to work with our partners in enforcement to meet these new challenges.”
- Wally Schumann, Minister of Transportation

“As a law enforcement partner, and as first responders to motor vehicle collisions, we are pleased to support the GNWT Department of Transportation’s ongoing commitment to improve road safety for our citizens.”
- Superintendent Mike LeSage, Criminal Operations Officer, Northwest Territories Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Quick Facts

  • Since 2012, NWT drivers have been prohibited from using restricted hand-held electronic devices, such as cell phones, while operating a vehicle.
  • Approximately 1,200 drivers have been convicted of distracted driving since the distracted driving law came into effect in 2012.
  • Currently, drivers receive a $322 fine and three demerit points for distracted driving.  As of May 1, an additional offence for distracted driving in school and construction zones will come into force with a $644 fine and three demerit points.
  • The NWT is one of the first jurisdictions in Canada to introduce driver’s licence suspensions for distracted driving.
  • Increased fines will assist in deterring speeding and distracted driving offences from occurring.

Media Inquiries for the Department

Ioana Spiridonica
Department of Transportation
Government of the Northwest Territories
867-767-9082 ext. 31042
Follow us on Twitter at @GNWT_DOT