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Ontario: Promoting stricter penalties on careless drivers

It would be wonderful if it could be said that careless drivers are a thing of the past, but they aren't. They're on the roads causing accidents, injuries and deaths. If you're hurt in an accident or lose a loved one because of a careless driver, you have legal options you can pursue to receive compensation, but that doesn't address the problem itself. How can these drivers be persuaded not to get behind the wheel unless they are sober and focused on what they're doing?

MPP Eleanor McMahon is trying to change Ontario's current Highway Traffic Act, because she believes it is not strict enough. She would like to see harsher penalties used when a careless driver causes an accident that injures or kills another person.

Currently, someone who is charged with careless driving faces only up to six months in jail, even if a person is killed in the accident he or she causes. To be charged with dangerous driving, a more serious charge, the person would have needed to intend to cause harm.

The MPP wants to see changes enacted, and it's personal for her. Her husband was killed in 2006 by a driver who had been convicted five times before for driving while suspended. That driver received 100 hours of community service and had his license suspended again; unfortunately, that did not stop him. He went on to hit someone else just two months later.

The new changes could result in at careless driving causing death or bodily injury charges, which would carry a punishment of up to two years in jail. Until then, she believes that the punishments are not fitting the crimes some drivers are committing.

Source: CTV News, "MPP wants tougher penalties for careless drivers," The Canadian Press, June 09, 2016

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