What Is the Law About 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.

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A Helpful Guide For How to Determine the Applicable Penalties For Towing a House or Boat Trailer With a Person Aboard

Large white SUV vehicle towing a camping trailer As doing so creates a significant risk of danger for serious injury or death in the event of an accident, the law forbids the towing of a house trailer, camping trailer, boat trailer, among others, while a person is aboard.  Accordingly, all persons traveling must be onboard the towing vehicle rather than aboard the towed trailer.

The Law

The law that forbids a driver from towing a house trailer or boat trailer while a person is inside the house trailer or boat trailer is prescribed by section 188 of the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8.  For those found guilty of violating section 188, the details for the penalty upon conviction are prescribed by section 214(1) of the Highway Traffic Act whereas section 188 is actually silent, meaning absent, about the penalty details.  Within section 188 and section 214(1) of the Highway Traffic Act it is specifically stated:

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

When a driver operates a motor vehicle that is towing a house trailer or boat trailer with a person inside, doing so creates a great risk of serious harm to the person inside the trailer, especially in an accident occurrence.  Accordingly, drivers are legally forbidden from doing so and upon a conviction for a violation a fine of up to one thousand ($1,000) dollars, among other penalties, applies.


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