Is It Against the Law to Tow 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 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 is described via the relevant sections referenced above, the general penalty mandated per section 214(1) of the Highway Traffic Act prescribes a fine that ranges from sixty ($60) dollars to one thousand ($1,000) dollars upon conviction for the towing of a house trailer or of a boat trailer with a person inside.  Additionally, also upon conviction, the statutory victim surcharge as well as court cost will apply. Furthermore, a conviction may result in insurance rate increases.

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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