Bill 62: Protecting Vulnerable Road Users Act

Re:  Bill 62:  Protecting Vulnerable Road Users Act

Vulnerable Road Users are people using the road who are not motor vehicle occupants.
This includes people who are walking, people who are riding a bicycle, people who use mobility devices, emergency responders, road workers, etc.

In 2016, 4,189 pedestrians and 2,159 cyclists were injured by a driver on Ontario’s roads. Just this past year, 108 vulnerable road users were killed by drivers in our province. Road crashes are the leading cause of death for people under 18 years of age. These statistics are particularly heartbreaking because these deaths are 100% preventable. None of these 108 people needed to die, and none of their families deserved to be shattered.  While the rates of injury and death due to road traffic collisions for motor vehicle occupants have declined in Ontario over the past years, this is not the case for pedestrians and cyclists.  Based on a report by Public Health Ontario, an average of 7 Vulnerable Road Users are taken to the emergency department every day in Ontario, many with life-altering injuries.  

In our present system, drivers who kill or maim vulnerable road users often receive minor or no charges.  If charged, they get away with small fines as low as $85 and maybe a few demerit points.  They are not required to attend court, and often send an agent on their behalf to hear the family’s victim impact statements. Families and victims are left with no sense of justice or closure, and convicted drivers are allowed to carry on as though nothing had happened, often continuing to drive around the same neighbourhoods where they’ve taken a life. This is wrong and this needs to be fixed.

If passed, Bill 62, Protecting Vulnerable Road Users Act, would be the most comprehensive Vulnerable Road User law in North America. The legislation would add penalties for drivers who injure or kill Vulnerable Road Users, regardless of which Highway Traffic Act charge the driver is convicted. The Bill proposes immediate license suspension when a driver strikes a vulnerable road user, with a requirement for the driver to complete remedial training before reinstatement. The driver would also be required to appear in traffic court to hear the victim impact statement and would also need to complete community service related to road safety. Bill 62 would impose a serious fine (up to $50,000) on offenders who don't fulfill the requirements of their sentence (for example, driving without a license or refusing to attend traffic court or complete community service). This legislation is an essential component in deterring lethal driving behaviour, correcting bad driving habits, and in providing real justice to those who are harmed by road violence.

All road violence is preventable. It requires serious political will to enact the changes required to stop the carnage on our streets, which is why citizen engagement with MPPs is such a crucial component to getting this legislation passed. We believe your organization has a role to play in contacting MPPs and the wider community and building widespread support for this legislation, and we have reached out to you because we believe our organizations have a mutual interest in making our streets safer for all people – children, seniors, walkers, runners, cyclists, emergency and construction workers: vulnerable road users.

For more information about Bill 62, please visit the new website: www.saferstreets.ca

View Bill 62 here:  https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-62