Two years after Sébastien Filteau’s death, a coroner’s report is proposing more severe penalties to discourage individuals from engaging in dangerous driving. Filteau was struck by a driver going 130 km/h in a 70km/h zone on Oct. 15, 2021.
Coroner Dr. Jean Brochu revealed that on the day of the accident, Filteau and another cyclist were at an intersection, both wearing yellow bibs and lights. A driver swiftly overtook another car. Then they “did not see the cyclists until the last second,” and collided with them. The young father was thrown approximately 20 m forward. He was declared neurologically dead the following day at the hospital. The driver admitted guilt after being apprehended.
Brochu highlighted that the driver had a history of dangerous driving offenses. His driver’s license had been suspended at the time of the accident. “He absolutely did not have the right to be behind the wheel,” Michel Filteau, his father said to the CBC. “I’m overwhelmed by emotion.” Sébastien Filteau’s mother, Diane Camiré, accused the driver of using his car as a weapon and emphasized, “He never braked. He continued on his way.”
The parents express a desire for tangible action but harbour concerns that the coroner’s recommendations may not lead to significant changes. In his three-page report, Brochu recommends that Quebec’s automobile insurance board, the SAAQ, explore the option of escalating sanctions for driving that jeopardizes the lives of other road users.
Quebec’s transport minister’s office noted in December, Geneviève Guilbault introduced Bill 48. It aims to increase fines for violations of the Highway Safety Code. The government’s road safety plan includes updates to the rules for demerit points. In an emailed statement to the CBC, the SAAQ expressed, “One death on our roads is always one death too many.”