November 19, 1909 (11th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Edward Norman Lewis

Conservative (1867-1942)


Mr. Speaker, this Bill has reference to damage done on the highway by a vehicle which was not known at the time the Criminal Code was instituted. This is a vehicle which is under the complete control of the man who is managing it-the chauffeur-and in this respect differs from a vehicle drawn by horses. I refer to motor
vehicles. There is a precedent for the Bill I am now asking leave to introduce. I have a report here in which it is stated that the British parliament is alarmed at the destruction of life and at the damage to roads occasioned by motor vehicles. As part of the explanation of this Bill I would mention that while there was not one passenger killed on the railways of the United Kingdom in the years 1907 or 1908, there were 101 killed in New York alone by motor vehicles, and there were 5,616 motor accidents in the United Kingdom 248 of which were fatal. I have some expressions of opinions here from the newspapers with regard to this Bill and I shall hand them into ' Hansard' without taking up the time of the House in reading them'
Montreal Daily ' Witness,' Wednesday, May 5, 1909.
Highway Assault.
We have decisions by courts of competent jurisdiction that the person on foot has the right of way, at least upon recognized crossings. This is common law and common sense. As things stand the motor car is on the same level as the horse and vehicle before the law, but there is an essential difference; when a horse runs away there is some excuse for the frightened animal. The machine is guided in all its motions by human hands. The driver of it is, therefore, with few exceptions-for machines have been known to ' run amuck '- responsible for its conduct.
Toronto ' Saturday Night,' May 15, 1909.
Take warning, ye motorists. Get over the excessive speed habit. Be alive to the rights of the other fellow. Put yourself in the place of the farmer for a few moments. Look the problem square in the face from his view point, and then see if you do not curse the automobile speed fiend, as the farmer now curses him.
Big sentence for motorist-Gets from 1 to 20 years and $500 fine for killing child.
Seattle, Wash., June 14.-Guy C. Stratton, a prominent lumberman, whom a jury convicted of manslaughter on the charge of having run over and killed 7-year-old Henrietta Johnson, while speeding his automobile, has been sentenced by Judge Frater, of the Superior Court, to an intermediate term of from one to twenty years in the state penitentiary, and to pay a fine of $500.
This is the first conviction for manslaughter under the provision of the state automobile law. The defence gave notice of appeal.
The ' Globe,' Toronto, Wednesday, OetobeT 20, 1909.
The British parliament is considering the advisability of building special tracks for motor vehicles and separating the two kinds of road traffic. Roads constructed for ordinary vehicles are destroyed by the automobiles, and the two kinds of traffic require radically different methods of road building.

Confiscate the cars of wicked motorists-Duke of Northumberland advocates this plan-keep them for, say, six months.
London, Nov. 14.-I do not believe that you will ever get over the difficulties unless you have, for certain definite offences, the right to confiscate the car for so many months. The speaker was the Duke of Northumberland, and, in view of the road casualties we have again to record this week, his Grace's remarks would seem to have the fullest justification.
Clinton ' News-Record,' June 3, 1909-The Auto question not yet settled.
Seventy-seven persons were killed by automobiles in New York alone during the past twelve months.
The cause of many of these killings is found in the reckless driving of high-powered engines through crowded thoroughfares by men intoxicated either with the speed of motion or in. the ordinary way. Women, children and the aged should be free to go and come without fear of being run dowrn by an engine capable of travelling fifty miles an hour, and which may be in the hands of a drunken driver.-Sun.
The Auto Nuisance in England.
It is not. only in Ontario rural districts and villages that the auto has made a nuisance of itself. The same thing has occurred in England. As a result a petition to the Queen is now being signed for presentation by the women of English villages in the following terms:-
'We women of England humbly beseech your Majesty to help us to get some relief from the motor cars. We are sure Your Majesty cannot know how much we suffer from them. They have made our lives a misery. Our children are always in danger, our things are ruined by the dust, we cannot open our windows, our rest is spoiled by the noise all night. If they could be made to go slow through the villages it would be a great thing; but we are only poor people, and the great majority of those who use motor cars take no account of us. We do not know what to do, so we appeal to Your Majesty to use your great influence on our behalf.'
The ' Huron Expositor,' Seaforth, Friday, July 23, 1909.
The automobile, which is becoming more common every day, is still a terror to many travellers on the public highways with horse vehicles. Some of those in charge of these machines are commendably careful and considerate, and with such there is not much danger. Others, however, are just as reckless and inconsiderate and evidently seem to care little how much trouble or danger they occasion. These latter should be sharply looked after and severely punished. "We heartily agree with the Montreal ' Star ' when it says: If
the owners and drivers of automobiles will not observe the common decencies of life while they are on the public roads, then the community must treat them like the dangerous criminals they make themselves, and let them see that the resources of society are not Mr. LEWIS.
yet exhausted in dealing with men who take their pleasure at other men's peril. We would arrest and send to prison a reckless fool who should fire a rifle down a public highway upon which vehicles and pedestrians might easily be, and there is no reason why we should deal more tenderly with those who charge down these same peopled highways with immense cars.

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