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 Whereas towing a house trailer or a boat trailer, among others, with a person onboard poses a risk of serious injury or death if an accident were to occur, doing so is unlawful; and thus, a driver must ensure that all persons traveling are within the vehicle that is towing the trailer rather than within the trailer that is being towed.

The Law

The applicable law regarding towing a house trailer or boat trailer with a person inside can be found at section 188 of the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8 and the law for the penalty that applies upon a conviction can be found at section 214(1) of the Highway Traffic Act. The separate penalty section must be read in tandem as section 188 is silent about, meaning failing to state, the applicable fine.  Accordingly, upon reading section 188 and section 214(1) of the Highway Traffic Act together, such combine to 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.

Accordingly, per the general penalty stated within section 214(1), the fine for towing a house trailer or boat trailer with a person onboard is in a range from sixty ($60) dollars to one thousand ($1,000) dollars.  Additional penalties will include the statutory victim surcharge plus court cost.  Furthermore, a conviction may also have serious consequences to 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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