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Ontario to put more teeth in stunt driving laws

By HUB SmartCoverage Team on October 18th, 2021

If you’re someone with a need for speed on the road - beware.

On Sept. 12, an automatic license suspension for street racing and/or stunt driving will jump to 30 days from seven. It’s all part of Ontario’s Moving Ontarians More Safely (MOMS) Act aimed at combating excessive speeding on provincial roads.

In addition, drivers may face a fine of up to $10,000 for stunt driving – the highest amount for a stunt driving fine in Canada – and their vehicle is impounded for 14 days.

Stunt driving is defined as engaging in excessive speeding, street racing, and other dangerous driving practices on an Ontario road or highway. Other specific acts that constitute stunt driving include burnouts, cutting other drivers off, passing too closely, or driving with people in your trunk.

A conviction will cost you in terms of both fines and higher insurance rates.

LowestRates.ca, an insurance comparison website, said in a feature article onDriving.ca, that a 31-year-old male living in London, Ont., with one stunt driving conviction within the last three years would find the least expensive rate he could get would have jumped by 34 per cent.

Passed earlier this summer, the MOMS Act had already increased penalties and lowered the thresholds for stunt driving charges. On roads with speed limits of 80 km/h and less, stunt driving charges apply at 40 km/h over the speed limit, and at 50 km/h over the speed limit on roads with speed limits higher than 80 km/h.

Penalties include:

  • Minimum one-year and maximum three-year suspension for a first conviction.
  • Minimum three-year and maximum 10-year suspension for a second conviction.
  • For a third conviction, the driver’s license is suspended indefinitely with the possibility of having it reinstated later.
  • For a fourth conviction within 10 years, your license is suspended permanently.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), the national industry association representing Canada's private home, auto, and business insurers, praised the province when the Act was passed.

“Dangerous driving has no place on our roads, as it puts innocent drivers and pedestrians at risk,” IBC said in a statement. “We are pleased to see that this legislation would combat high-risk driving through stiffer fines and increased penalties for dangerous drivers who engage in stunt driving, street racing, and aggressive driving. The MOMS Act paves the way for safer roads ahead.”

Since the COVID-19 crisis began in March 2020, despite a drop in traffic, excessive speeding and aggressive driving have increased. And though there were fewer collisions, traffic-related fatalities in Ontario jumped by 22 per cent.

Data from the Ontario Court of Justice between April 2020 and March 2021, shows police in Ontario charged 752,935 drivers with speeding, 20,685 for careless driving, and 13,379 for street racing or stunt driving. In comparison, from January 2019 to December 2019, police charged 436,559 drivers for speeding, 28,677 for careless driving, and 9,675 for street racing or stunt driving.

The MOMs Act also includes heightened measures for commercial-truck safety, protection for cyclists and road workers, and more oversight on the towing industry.

RELATED READING: IBC praises Ontario's passage of MOMS Act

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