TORONTO — NDP MPPs Jessica Bell (University–Rosedale), Doly Begum (Scarborough–Southwest) and Bhutila Karpoche (Parkdale–High Park) will force a vote on legislation to bring in tougher penalties for drivers who injure or kill a pedestrian, road worker, or cyclist.
At a press conference this morning to announce the bill, the MPPs were joined by MPP Suze Morrison (Toronto-Centre), Friends and Families for Safe Streets, Bike Law, the Brain Injury Society of Toronto, Avenue Road Safety Coalition, and ARC.
“Each day, an average of seven people are taken to the emergency room because they were hit by a car on Ontario’s roads. That’s seven too many. I’m calling on the Ontario government to do the right thing and pass our Vulnerable Road Users law and make our streets safer for all,” said Bell.
“Every serious injury or death that occurs on our roads is a tragedy,” said Begum. “Friends and families of victims want to see meaningful consequences that ensure responsibility and accountability for negligent drivers who share the road with pedestrians.”
Last month, 17-year-old Nadia Mozumder, a friend and constituent of Begum, was hit and killed by a driver making a left turn when she was crossing the street outside her Scarborough school.
Right now, drivers who kill or seriously injure pedestrians are charged with careless driving under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act and typically walk away with small fines.
If passed, the Protecting Vulnerable Road Users Act would bring in tougher penalties for drivers who injure or kill a pedestrian, cyclist, or road worker while breaking the rules of the road. These tougher penalties include being required to listen to victim impact statements, license suspension, taking a driver re-education course, and community service. The Protecting Vulnerable Road Users Act goes to a vote on Wednesday, November 24.
Jess Spieker, Friends and Families for Safe Streets
"It's long past overdue to implement meaningful consequences for reckless, at-fault drivers who maim and kill innocent people. The drivers who killed our family members or destroyed our health only received a slap on the wrist - a few hundred dollars or one or two demerit points, out of all proportion to the lifelong anguish they inflicted. This bill will give more meaningful justice for victims like us and deter the kind of reckless driving behaviour that kills so many vulnerable road users every year in Ontario."
Pat Brown, lawyer, Vulnerable Road Users Coalition
“Unfortunately, pedestrians and cyclists continue to be killed at an alarming rate. Small fines and penalties continue to be handed out despite this crisis. Our system is broken and it’s time to change attitudes and have real deterrence that promotes road safety.”