QUEEN'S PARK — Jennifer French, Official Opposition critic for Transportation, Highways and Infrastructure and the MPP for Oshawa, has tabled Bill 122, a private member's bill to raise penalties for drivers who violate traffic laws under the Highway Traffic Act, and cause serious injury or death to another road user.
“Tragically, each year, too many Ontarians lose their lives in road accidents due to drivers violating rules of the road. Drivers making unsafe left turns, unsafe U-turns or following too closely behind another car can cause serious injury or death to others on the road, yet the penalty that results from violating road rules and then causing an accident is nowhere near strong enough,” French said. “Drivers of smaller vehicles, including motorcycles, are statistically at greater risk of serious injury or death in a road accident, and drivers who break the rules of the road should pay an appropriate penalty.”
French’s bill would increase the penalty for traffic violations so that they are in line with those that penalize careless drivers. Currently, a person convicted of violating the Highway Traffic Act receives a fine in the range of $100 to $1,000 no matter the extent of physical harm they cause another.
“The Wynne Liberals failed to increase penalties for traffic violations, instead raising penalties just for careless driving,” French said. “The Ford government continues to let penalties for traffic violations stagnate at insufficient rates, failing to heed calls from groups like the Ontario motorcycle community, which have been asking the Conservatives to raise penalties for traffic violations and create better protections and fairer outcomes for victims’ families.
The Bikers Rights Organization of Ontario (BRO) supports MPP French's bill, and stated: "Far too often people die as the result of another’s simple error in judgement, and that error has far-reaching consequences for others. The oversight for this situation can be corrected with this new private member’s bill to provide stiffer penalties for all Highway Traffic Act infractions that result in death or serious injury.”
“Victims of road accidents hurt or killed as a result of another driver’s traffic violations deserve better protection, and their families deserve fairer legal outcomes,” French said. “All Ontario drivers, including those using smaller vehicles like motorcycles, deserve a government that de-incentivizes breaking the rules, and creates a safer environment for everyone on the road.”