QUEEN'S PARK - NDP MPP Guy Bourgouin (Mushkegowuk – James Bay) has introduced Chad's Law, a common-sense private member's bill aimed at preventing tragic accidents caused by overtaking vehicles by reckless passing maneuvers.
Chad's Law, named after a resident in Bourgouin's riding who narrowly escaped death, will make it illegal to cross double yellow lines when overtaking another vehicle. The incident that inspired this legislation involved a commercial truck attempting to recklessly overpass another vehicle in a dual solid line zone while going uphill, resulting in a severe collision with Chad's vehicle.
"This amendment to the Highway Traffic Act is crucial in small communities like Chad's, where everyone feels the worries and pain of such accidents,” said Bourgouin. “In northern communities around Highways 11 and 17, I've witnessed firsthand the reckless behaviour and challenging weather conditions these roads pose. There is simply no need to cross into oncoming traffic in these marked zones.”
Chad's survival came with a significant cost, with injuries including a broken neck, ribs, collarbone, sternum, and a bruised heart and lungs, alongside a concussion. Intensive surgery, months of rehabilitation, and ongoing struggles with chronic pain, deteriorating eyesight, PTSD, and anxiety highlight the devastating consequences of improper passing.
"The government has a responsibility to protect Ontarians,” added Bourgouin. “People are just trying to drop their kids off at school or return home to their families from work. We need measures to ensure their safety and, most importantly, prevent any more injuries or deaths. We cannot allow Ontario to be the only province that fails to condemn this life-threatening maneuver. This government must do more to protect drivers across the entire province."
Bourgouin argues against leaving such matters to police discretion, stressing the importance of preventative measures to save lives. "As elected officials, we must put measures in place that go beyond a judgment call. Drivers should not be forced into split-second decisions that can be the difference between life or death."
The current legislation cautions crossing into oncoming lanes under specific conditions only. Bourgouin highlights the impracticality of expecting drivers to account for every factor, especially unpredictable weather conditions and varying travel speeds.
"It's time for Ontario to lead in road safety, and Chad's Law is the first step towards achieving that goal,” concluded Bourgouin. “Making this maneuver illegal and punishable under the Highway Traffic Act will make reckless drivers think twice and pressure the government to find better alternatives for vehicles to pass a slower car.”
If passed, Chad's Law will not only officially make the maneuver illegal but also impose a minimum penalty of $400 and 3 demerit points on drivers caught crossing double yellow lines, reinforcing the commitment to safer roads and holding reckless drivers accountable for their actions.
MPP Lise Vaugeois (Thunder Bay—Superior North):
“Double yellow lines, no matter where you are in the country, should mean the same thing: do not pass! A lot needs to be done to make our highways safer. I hope the government will see this as a non-partisan issue and support Chad’s Law to benefit all Ontarians.”
LETTERS OF SUPPORT