Is It Against the Law to Tow a Trailer With a Person Onboard?

Towing a House Trailer or Boat Trailer, Among Others, With a Person Inside Is Contrary to Section 188 of the Highway Traffic Act and Is Subject to Penalties Including a Fine Ranging From $60 to $1,000 Plus Victim Surcharge and Court Cost As Well As Possible Consequences to Insurance Rates.

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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 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 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.

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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