New Stunt Driving Charges in Ontario
Stunt driving can have serious consequences. Not only does stunt driving endanger you, other vehicles, and bystanders, but now it carries greater penalties than ever before. The Highway Traffic Act (HTA) was recently updated with tighter sanctions on stunt driving in Ontario.
On November 28, stunt driving post-conviction licence suspensions were increased significantly. Now your license can be taken away for up to 3 years on your first offence.
These stricter measures accompany those introduced this past July and September, which saw immediate license suspensions, drivers being charged at lower speed limits, and vehicle impoundments for those suspected of stunt driving.
New Stunt Driving Laws in Ontario
As of September 12, 2021, those caught stunt driving in Ontario became subject to an immediate 30-day licence suspension. Just a few months earlier, in July, a new 14-day vehicle impoundment was introduced as well. This increased the impoundment period from 1 week to 2 weeks.
The sanctions for those convicted of risky driving behaviours have also been adjusted. According to Section 172 of the HTA, if you are convicted of stunt driving you’ll lose 6 demerit points, be subject to post-conviction fines of $2,000 to $10,000 dollars, and post-conviction licence suspensions and/or six months in jail.
The new post-conviction licence suspensions are the latest in Ontario’s attempt to curb dangerous driving by increasing stunt driving sanctions. As of November 28, 2021, your license will be suspended for a duration that is based on how many times you have been convicted of stunt driving.
- 1st conviction – one-year minimum and three-year maximum suspension
- 2nd conviction – three-year minimum and 10-year maximum suspension
- 3rd and subsequent conviction – an indefinite suspension
On your 4th conviction within your 10 years, your license will be permanently suspended.
What is Stunt Driving?
Stunt driving is characterized by the HTA as “motor vehicles engaged in a competition, driving in a manner that indicates an intention to chase another motor vehicle, or driving in a dangerous manner”.
More often than not, vehicles are charged with stunt driving when driving at high speeds. This includes driving at speeds in excess of 50 kilometres per hour or in excess of 40 kilometres per hour in a speed zone of 80 kilometres per hour or less. In July, the threshold for stunt driving was brought down from 50 kilometres to 40 kilometres on roads with speed limits of 80 kilometres per hour or less.
However, the following can also land you with a stunt driving conviction in Ontario.
- Outdistancing or attempting to outdistance another motor vehicle at a rate of speed that is substantially faster than the speed limit allowed by law.
- Repeatedly weaving through traffic and changing lanes in close proximity to other vehicles while driving at a rate of speed that is over the speed limit.
- Using a motor vehicle (including a motorcycle) in a way that indicates a desire to lift some or all of its tires from the surface of the road.
- Attempting to turn a vehicle in a way that causes its tires to lose traction with the highway surface.
- Attempting to do a “donut” or spin the vehicle in a circle without maintaining control over it.
- Driving two or more motor vehicles side by side or in proximity to each other, where one of the motor vehicles occupies the opposite lane of traffic for a period of time that is longer than required to legally pass.
- Operating a motor vehicle with a person in the trunk of the vehicle.
- Operating a motor vehicle without sitting in the driver’s seat.
- Operating a motor vehicle at a speed greater than 150 kilometres per hour.
How Stunt Driving Impacts Insurance Rates
Stunt driving is one of the most serious traffic offences you can be convicted of. Therefore, it will seriously impact your auto insurance rates. The offence will not show up on your driving record until you have had your court date. Afterwhich, it will be on your record for three years. During this time, your insurance agency may drop you as a client or drastically increase your premiums. It is best to keep the roads safe and avoid stunt driving at all costs. If you have any questions about how driving offences can impact your insurance rates, reach out to the team at Ostic Group today.