Two carriers fight absolute liability for wheel-off incidents

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TORONTO, Ont. — Ontario’s highest court will rule within the new few months on whether the absolute liability provisions of Sec. 84.1(1) of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act are fair.

The provisions in question center around the absolute liability offence imposed on a driver when a wheel becomes detached from the vehicle. Currently guilt is immediately affixed to the driver, regardless of whether or not the operator or owner can demonstrate due diligence.

Transport Robert and William Cameron Trucking argued against the provision on Oct. 1 in a precedent-setting case. A panel of three senior justices listened to their argument that Sec. 84.1(1) violates section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it infringes on the security of the person and does not allow the defence of due diligence. Lawyers for the transport companies also argued that the concept offends the principles of fundamental justice.

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