November 16th, 2023

Ontario NDP urges government to support solution for safer roads

QUEEN'S PARK - Joel Harden (Ottawa Centre), Official Opposition NDP Transit and Active Transportation Critic, and Doly Begum (Scarborough Southwest) are urging the Ford government to pass their bill, the Moving Ontario Safely Act, to prevent road accidents involving drivers who injure or kill pedestrians, road workers, or cyclists. Harden and Begum held a press conference Thursday to address the importance of stricter penalties for careless drivers.

"Our solution is about safe streets and communities," said Harden. "It's about making better drivers, protecting vulnerable road users, and ensuring everyone gets home safely. This reminds us that road safety should be at the forefront of our political agenda, free from partisan divisions. It is our collective responsibility to pass Bill 40, a vital step towards real progress and a safer future for every Ontarian on our roads."

The bill, co-sponsored by MPPs Jessica Bell (University—Rosedale) and Bhutila Karpoche (Parkdale—High Park), introduces harsher penalties for drivers who injure or kill a pedestrian, road worker, or cyclist while breaking the law. Currently, drivers who kill or seriously injure pedestrians due to careless driving are charged under Ontario's Highway Traffic Act and typically walk away with small fines.

"Our community has witnessed tragic losses due to Ontario's lack of decisive action to secure safe streets for everyone," added Begum. "Scarborough grapples with some of the highest road safety incidents in the GTA. The Moving Ontarians Safely Act is a critical step forward to embed essential education and justice measures into the legal framework, preventing further lives from being taken by unsafe roads.

"We must have stricter penalties for negligent drivers and proper justice measures for those impacted. We hope the Ford Conservatives will support and help pass Bill 40."

The bill proposes tougher penalties, including license suspension and requirements that the driver hear victim impact statements, take a driver re-education course and complete community service with a road safety group.


MPP Bhutila Karpoche (Parkdale—High Park):

"Ensuring road safety is a shared responsibility that goes beyond party lines. Bill 40 is a crucial step toward safer streets, imposing stricter penalties on careless drivers and delivering justice to those impacted. Let's prioritize Ontarians' safety and push for the passage of this vital bill."

MPP Jessica Bell (University—Rosedale):

"Our communities have felt the heartbreaking impact of road safety negligence for too long. The Moving Ontarians Safely Act is a game-changer. Uncompromising penalties and justice measures are essential in the battle for safer roads and protected lives."

Abu Bakr family:

"We are here as a grieving family and as advocates for change. No family should endure the heartache we have felt of losing our loved one to unsafe roads. We urge steps to be taken to prevent such tragedies, and implementing Bill 40 is crucial for ensuring justice in cases like these.
"As the saying goes, "Justice delayed is justice denied." We call for the swift passage of Bill 40 to prevent further delay in justice for Abu Bakar and others who have suffered similarly. It's our responsibility to strive for a society where we no longer see such heartbreaking departures."