Driving a vehicle off-road for 10 years

News 11 February, 2018
  • Photo Fotolia
    Currently, a loophole in the law in quebec allows a child to drive a vehicle off-road on private land (photo for illustrative purposes only).

    Martin Lavoie

    Saturday, 10 February, 2018 23:20

    Saturday, 10 February, 2018 23:20

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    The government of Québec intends to correct the loophole in the law which currently permits, on private property not accessible to the public, or to a child of any age to drive, without a helmet, an off-road vehicle, or an adult to consume alcohol on this type of vehicle.

    By reason of a judgment of the Superior court, the Sûreté du Québec no longer applies since last October, the article 1.1 of the Act respecting off-highway vehicles (LVHR) on private property not accessible to the public.

    It is, therefore, to say that rules such as the minimum age of 16 years to wear a helmet, registration, and insurance liability is mandatory, for example, no longer apply to the conduct of an off-road vehicle on private property not accessible to the public. Even the prohibition of alcohol in such circumstances does more. The criminal code – and the legal limit of alcohol, however, remains in force, regardless of the context.

    “Everything that falls under the criminal code, including impaired driving, continues to be applied to the letter, even on a residential lot,” warns Hugo Fournier, spokesman for the SQ. He stressed that the police will intervene for sure if they see a individual consume of alcohol on his off-road vehicle.

    “The act respecting off-highway vehicles shall continue to apply on the trails and paths and private land to public access,” added Mr. Fournier.

    The situation irritates the police complain of not being able to intervene when, for example, a child drives a snowmobile on private land.

    A hole in the law

    The present situation is the result of heavy violations (see box) handed out by police officers from the SQ to the two fathers of families in the Mauricie region. Louis-Philippe Richard and Danny Merchant has contested the citations. The municipal Court in Shawinigan has given due February 23, 2017. The judgment was upheld on 18 October in the superior Court.

    Judge Pierre Bordeleau, of the municipal Court, concluded that since the amendments to the December 17, 2014, the act applies on public roads and which applies the Code of road safety, that is to say, on the ” fields and private roads where the public is allowed to drive “. Previously, the field of application of the law was not determined by location but by the type of vehicle.

    “Situation of concern “

    The office of the minister for Transport, Véronyque Tremblay, states that it intends to intervene.

    “It is a worrisome situation and that is why we intend to propose legislative changes. The Fédération des clubs de motoneigistes du Québec and the Fédération québécoise des clubs Quads we have also sensitized to this folder “, explained the minister’s office.

    The decision which created this precedent

    When :

    March 6, 2016

    Where :

    On a private estate in Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel (mid-way between Trois-Rivières and Shawinigan)

    What :

    Two children without helmets, he who leads has 10 years old, are sitting on a tracked ATV that pulls a snowboard on which is located an adult wearing no helmet.

    A 13 year old child at the controls, a 4 year old and another a year and a half are on a snowmobile, non-registered, designed for a single person. None of them are wearing a helmet.

    Consequences :

    Five facts of the offence 556 $, for a total of 2780 $