Jail time for left-hand turn accidents?

A Kelowna woman hopes lawmakers will send drivers who cause left-hand turn accidents ending in injury or death to jail.
A Kelowna woman hopes lawmakers will send drivers who cause left-hand turn accidents ending in injury or death to jail.

There’s probably no traffic situation more dangerous to a motorcyclist than a collision with a left-hand turning car.

Nobody knows this better than Pamela Tomlinson of Kelowna, B.C.; her father was killed last year when a truck making an illegal left-hand turn struck him and his motorcycle last year. The truck’s driver didn’t even immediately realize he’d struck a vehicle. He received a $115 ticket for the incident, but no criminal record.

But Tomlinson is hoping to change the country’s laws and put an end to gross injustices like this. According to News1130.com, she’s putting together a petition¬† asking lawmakers to prescribe jail sentences for drivers who make an illegal left-hand turn that caused injury or death.

You can view her online petition here; she’s hoping to collect 10,000 signatures, then present the petition to her MP.


  1. Consider mandatory training for everyone who wants to drive, even (especially?) if they move here from another part of the country or another country. Repeat it every 5 years. Germany has strict standards, which makes for safer driving for everybody. We have a punitive system rather than being proactive. Laws neither fix nor correct bad behaviour. Altho this petition will help, it won’t matter a dollar to the victim or their family! The fact that anyone starting at 16 is permitted to drive (that really makes sense! No voting or legal drinking but you can hurtle down the highway in or on a vehicle!) in Canada without any formal training is barbaric as much as it is nonsensical. A law is a bandaid on a symptom, not a solution to a problem.

  2. It’s time we started taking driving seriously here. Too many people drivers don’t take their driving seriously. Maybe some heavy fines, loss of driving privileges, or jail time will make people take driving seriously.

  3. A better solution would be a more comprehensive mandatory sentence covering any collision with a motorcyclist regardless., as I heard they do in Japan. A car/bike accident is a life changing event for the m/cyclist. It’s long,long overdue that the highway traffic act recognize this. “…but I didn’t see him” proves you didn’t have care & control of your vehicle & the book should be thrown @ you. Drivers colliding with motorcyclists should @ the very least be dealt with as they do with speeding/racing @ 50 km/h over the posted speed with impounding vehicles, $2-10,000.00 fine that hadn’t even caused an accident yet. A harsh prison sentence for these preventable accidents would show that we belong on the road. Canada’s prison system is in the middle of federal upgrade, perfect timing. I’m signing the petition.

    • In Germany this year, a friend of mine was fined 600 Euros for making an illegal left hand turn. If he lived in Germany he would have lost his car for 30 days.

      I guess they taking driving seriously there.

  4. The law has to be created and exercised with intelligence. Far too often, in the last 5 years, we’ve had laws passed over emotionally charged incidents, that really shouldn’t have been passed into law.

    Single incidents, or even a handful of them, shouldn’t dictate whether a law is necessary or not.

  5. Obviously it makes sense to be much tougher on bad driving mistakes, but I feel there has to be some consideration of the details before automatic jail terms apply.
    When driving, we have expectations of traffic flow based on normal speed limits. If a motorcyclist is traveling way over the speed limit (as anyone who rides a performance bike has done)(like me)(and you), normal traffic flow expectations are exceeded. We as car drivers might take a look and then start a turn not anticipating a projectile hurtling along at some insane speed. I realise this is not always the case but if a jail term is automatic without consideration of the riders behaviour, anyone of us could be the guy/girl going to jail when really the rider has tested the limits of road safety and increased the odds that someone else (maybe one of us) will be involved with their impending disaster.

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