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Sep 16, 2021

6 min. read

Ontario is increasing penalties for speeding and street racing as part of an effort to counter what road safety experts say is a rash of dangerous driving. The new sanctions, which will be rolled out in November, include a potential lifetime driving ban for what is formally known as stunt driving. The penalties are part of the Moving Ontarians More Safely Act, which is designed to curtail a spike in aggressive driving that began with the onset of the pandemic.

“There are serious penalties for things like stunt driving—and rightfully so,” says Raymond Chan, manager of government relations with CAA South Central Ontario. “We want to make sure everyone who uses our roads is aware of the consequences for driving dangerously.”

Here are six things you should know about Ontario’s new stunt driving laws.

Stunt driving law covers more than a dozen offences

Street racing and travelling 50 km/h over the speed limit are among the most common stunt driving offences. But drivers can also be charged if they’re spotted doing doughnuts, cutting off another motorist or weaving dangerously through traffic.

Stunt driving is a serious problem

From July 1 to September 1, OPP laid 1,050 stunt driving charges in Ontario, including 171 in the Greater Toronto Area, according to Sgt. Kerry Schmidt from the Ontario Provincial Police. He says drivers should think long and hard about how their actions could affect others.

“Speeding is the number one killer on our highways,” Schmidt says. “You might not think that it’s dangerous. You might think that you’re in full control. But you don’t realize how quickly traffic conditions can change.”

Licence suspensions are going up

Under the new laws, motorists caught stunt driving as of September 12 could see their licence suspended by police for 30 days, up from seven days under previous legislation. And their vehicle could be impounded for 14 days.

The bar for stunt driving on municipal roads is now lower

Drivers can now face a stunt driving charge if they’re caught doing 40 km/h above the speed limit on roads where the limit is less than 80 km/h. Previously, the threshold was 50 km/h above the speed limit.

Motorists will face a lifetime driving ban for stunt driving

Come November 28, if convicted in court, first time offenders will face a one- to three-year licence suspension along with a fine of $2,000 to $10,000. From there, the new legislation provides for escalating penalties, including a lifetime driving ban for a fourth conviction, which is up from the old maximum of 10 years.

Don’t try to prevent stunt driving yourself

Schmidt says if you see cars speeding, racing or weaving through traffic, don’t try to block them or intervene in another way on your own. If you see someone driving dangerously, call the police at *OPP (*677) or, in the case of an emergency, 911.

Being cut off by another driver can be angering, but the safest thing you can do is remove yourself from the situation.

“Be responsible, be respectful and don’t get involved,” says Schmidt. “It’s not your responsibility to prevent stunt driving.”

Safety is our priority

Whether you’re driving, cycling or walking, visit us online for more road safety tips. CAA has also launched an awareness campaign to counter excessive speeding and stunt driving with the message: Think you need to speed? Think twice.

Image credit: 5m3photos/Getty

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