News / Toronto

MPP pushes for stiffer penalties for careless drivers who kill or seriously injure people

Currently the range of fines and jail time for careless drivers are the same whether someone dies or not.

Eleanor McMahon, now a Liberal MPP, holds a photo of her late husband, OPP Sergeant Greg Stobbart, who was killed when a trucker struck him while he was riding his bike.

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Eleanor McMahon, now a Liberal MPP, holds a photo of her late husband, OPP Sergeant Greg Stobbart, who was killed when a trucker struck him while he was riding his bike.

It’s time for stiffer penalties for careless drivers who seriously hurt or kill people, one MPP is saying.

Burlington’s Eleanor McMahon is proposing a maximum of 2 years in jail, and a fine of between $2,000 and $50,000, in a private member’s bill.

“A lot of times (a) case will go to court and families walk away feeling as though wow, this fellow killed my aunt and all he got was a $500 fine,” she said.

“What I’m doing is acknowledging that.”

Metro has been tracking pedestrian and cyclist deaths in Toronto. So far there have been 16 this year.

Under the current “catchall” careless driving category, motorists face a maximum of 6 months in jail and between a $400 and $2,000 fine, whether they killed someone or not.

McMahon’s own husband, an OPP Sergeant, died when a trucker struck him on his bike outside of Milton.

“It was ten years on Monday and I have to tell you it feels sometimes like it was yesterday,” McMahon said.

“So I really relate to those families who are feeling as though there hasn’t been the kind of closure and the kind of recognition of their loss.”

Patrick Brown, a Toronto lawyer who works on cycling injury cases, has done his own analysis of cases where people were killed or seriously hurt by drivers.

He said unless drivers are drunk or involved in a hit and run they don’t usually get jail time, and walk away with “meagre” fines.

“The cost to fix the dent on the car that killed the person is likely going to cost more than the actual fine that person has to pay,” he 

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