Stunt driving charges in Ontario have seen a spike since the pandemic. Since fewer motorists were on the road due to health restrictions, more drivers were inclined to operate at increasingly excessive speeds.
Recent changes made under the Moving Ontarians More Safely Act, 2021, enact harsher penalties for offenses related to stunt driving or street racing. As of September 12, 2021, the new legislation implements a lower speed threshold for charges related to stunt driving of 40 km/hour or more where the posted speed limit is less than 80 km/hour. If convicted, penalties have been increased from a seven-day license suspension and vehicle impoundment to a thirty-day suspension and fourteen-day vehicle impoundment. This is still in addition to driving 50 km/hr over any posted speed limit of 80 km/hr or more. Subsequent or repeated offenses include a minimum fine of $2,000.00 up to $10,000.00, a jail term up to six months, six demerit points, a license suspension, and a mandatory driver’s education course to educate offenders on the consequences of aggressive driving.
Stunt driving charges may also apply under the Highway Traffic Act if you are driving in a way that may prevent other drivers from safely passing you, including intentionally cutting off vehicles, intentionally driving too close (or tailgating) to a vehicle, pedestrian, or object. New additions to section 172 of the Highway Traffic Act also allow for stunt driving to be applied in some off-road locations, which include parking lots, bike paths, and trails. Under Ontario Regulation 455/07, a parking lot is defined to include any driveway or road that connects the parking lot to a highway, any parking lot that drivers are permitted to enter, and any private lots where the public would typically be excluded. These amendments have made it easier for stunt driving charges to be formed, which means that even the casual driver must be more careful.
A stunt driving charge is a serious matter. Differently from a regular traffic ticket, a charge for stunt driving issues a summons that requires the offender or their legal representative to appear in court on a specified date. The driver may wish to fight against the charge and rather not plead guilty to the offense or plead to a lesser offense. Drivers charged with the offense should consider obtaining legal advice and representation for a court appearance. A stunt driving charge may have a significant impact on an individual’s daily life, including their ability to travel to work and take care of family due to potential license suspension and vehicle seizure. In addition, the charge may cause a steep increase in auto insurance rates, continuing to affect the driver for years to come. It is important that any person wishing to fight against the offense is prepared.
For additional details and free consultation, please contact Matthew Foghi @ Buzaker Law Firm Professional Corporation.