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  • News
  • October 29, 2017

MPP Yvan Baker to Table Bill to Strengthen Road Safety

Bill Encourages Pedestrians to Pay Attention While Crossing the Street

Yvan Baker, MPP for Etobicoke Centre, will announce Monday his introduction of a Private Member’s Bill to strengthen road safety.

The Phones Down, Heads Up Act would, if passed, prevent pedestrians from using phones or electronic devices when crossing roadways. The bill would also require a Ministry of Transportation led annual campaign to raise awareness on distracted driving, with a focus on texting and driving.

After months of work, the bill is being tabled Monday in response to concerns raised by constituents and experts regarding distracted pedestrians. A 2015 report by Toronto Public Health concluded that inattentive pedestrians were more susceptible to a collision than attentive pedestrians. As well, a 2010 report by the Chief Coroner of Ontario found that seven per cent of pedestrian fatalities involved distracted pedestrians using mobile phones or MP3 players, and recommended the development of educational programs targeting pedestrians who are distracted when crossing roadways.

The Phones Down, Heads Up Act would, if passed, directly address the issue of distracted pedestrians by raising awareness about the need to be attentive while crossing roadways.


“Toronto is already one of the worst cities in North America when it comes to traffic. With winter quickly approaching, road conditions can make it difficult to stop. Experts tell us that if you are alert, you are less likely to get hurt. I would like pedestrians to be aware of the risks of crossing the road while distracted by phones and other electronic devices. My bill would strengthen road safety by encouraging pedestrians and drivers to keep each other safe.”

-       Yvan Baker, MPP Etobicoke Centre

“The legislation purposed addresses a serious need for change. It focuses on the risky behaviour allowing for education and enforcement. It is consistent with the evolution of safety in the province of Ontario.”

-       Brian J. Patterson, President and CEO, Ontario Safety League

“We applaud MPP Baker’s initiative to make our roads safer for everyone. On a daily basis, our members see the role that distraction plays in car crashes and injuries. We are hopeful that this bill will go a long way towards educating Ontarians on safe road behaviour.”
-       Kim Donaldson, Vice President, Ontario, Insurance Bureau of Canada

“On behalf of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, we commend MPP Baker for raising awareness to what is an increasingly important public safety issue. We believe this initiative complements our focus on the safety and well-being of children in our Catholic school system.”

-       Patrick J. Daly, President, Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association



  • Exceptions to the bill include using a device to contact emergency services and calls started before a pedestrian enters the roadway.
  • Individual offenders of the law would be subject to incremental fines of $50 for the first offense, $75 for the second offense and $125 for the third offense.
  • The bill includes a provision to allow municipalities to opt out if they so choose.
  • A 2015 report by Toronto Public Health found that 13% of pedestrians involved in collisions were distracted at the time of impact and concluded that inattentive pedestrians were more likely to be hit than attentive pedestrians.
  • Honolulu has recently passed similar legislation which came into effect on October 25.



 Toronto Public Health, Pedestrian and Cycling Safety in Toronto 2015

 Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, Pedestrian Death Review, 2010


For more information, please contact:


Jordan Ray



OR: Cynthia Antony



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