What Is the Law and Fine For Towing a Trailer With a Person Onboard?

Driving While Towing a House Trailer or Boat Trailer, Among Other Types, While a Person Is Inside Violates Section 188 of the Highway Traffic Act. Upon Conviction a Driver Is Subject to Penalties That Include a Fine In a Range From $60 to $1,000 Plus a Statutory Victim Surcharge and Court Cost As Well As Potential Insurance Rate Consequences.


Understanding the Highway Traffic Act Offence For Towing a Trailer With a Person Aboard Including Applicable Penalties

Large white SUV vehicle towing a camping trailer The law requires that all persons traveling are onboard the towing vehicle rather than inside a house trailer or boat trailer that is under tow as serious injury or death could arise in the event of an accident occurrence; and accordingly, a driver may be charged for permitting a person to ride inside a trailer that is under tow.

The Law

The law forbidding a driver from towing a house trailer or boat trailer with a person onboard is found at section 188 of the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8 and the applicable penalty upon conviction for a violation is found at section 214(1) of the Highway Traffic Act as section 188 is silent about, meaning failing to state, the penalty details.  Specifically, section 188 and section 214(1) of the Highway Traffic Act state:

Riding in house or boat trailers prohibited

188 No driver of a motor vehicle to which a house trailer or boat trailer is attached shall operate the motor vehicle on a highway if the trailer is occupied by any person.

General penalty

214 (1) Every person who contravenes this Act or any regulation is guilty of an offence and on conviction, where a penalty for the contravention is not otherwise provided for herein, is liable to a fine of not less than $60 and not more than $1,000.

As shown above, the general penalty prescribed by section 214(1) of the Highway Traffic Act imposes a fine ranging from sixty ($60) dollars to one thousand ($1,000) dollars for towing a house trailer or boat trailer with a person onboard.  Furthermore, a statutory victim surcharge plus court cost will also apply in addition to the potential of serious affects upon insurance rates.

Summary Comment

Driving with a person onboard a house trailer or boat trailer, among other trailers, presents a great risk of serious harm to that person in the event of an accident.  Accordingly, the law forbids doing so and imposes a fine of up to one thousand ($1,000) dollars upon a finding of guilty when a driver is charged for doing so.

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