QUEEN’S PARK— Steeper penalties for people who break road laws — and kill or seriously injure someone as a result — are one step closer to becoming law after a private member’s bill brought forward by Oshawa MPP Jennifer French passed at second reading. The Fairness for Road Users Act is aimed at helping ensure families get justice when their loved one is killed or seriously harmed on the road.
Currently, even though minor offences under the Highway Traffic Act, like an unsafe left turn, can have deadly consequences, $500 is the maximum fine a judge can issue at sentencing. French’s bill would bring fines in line with penalties for careless driving. Penalties could include a minimum fine of $2,000 and a maximum fine of $50,000; imprisonment for up to two years; and licence or permit suspension for up to five years.
“When a road user is seriously injured, or a family suffers the loss of a loved one on the road, they should not have to suffer insult after injury,” said French. “My bills proposes steeper penalties so that people don’t keep walking away with a slap on the wrist when they break the road rules and cause grievous harm that leaves families in mourning.”
French said Queen’s Park has been talking about this issue of justice for 20 years now, and is pleased to see her bill pass at second reading.
“I’m relieved that the government is listening to the heart-wrenching calls for action from survivors of road accidents, and their surviving loved ones, across Ontario,” said French. “I am committed to continuing pressing for this change until it becomes law, so that families and road users can access justice when the unthinkable happens.”
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Gerry Rhodes, Provincial Government Liaison Officer, Bikers Rights Organization
“It is extremely important for Bill 15 to come to fruition for members of the Bikers Rights Organization. We have lost members and friends to errant drivers over the years, and have experienced the effects of loss without justice. Additionally, we have felt the need to support families previously unknown to us after a tragedy. We have survivors, who also feel that justice was not done in their case. Ontario needs Bill 15 to provide justice for victims, deterrence for offenders, and fairer treatment under law for all vulnerable road users.
Paul Schoppmann, President of Good Roads
“Good Roads believes that action must be taken to better protect the safety of vulnerable road users throughout the province, and that this bill will have an impact in that regard.”