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Stunt driving law encompasses more than you might think

Published January 30, 2014
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Q: What exactly constitutes a “stunt” under the Stunt Driving law?

Eric Lai replies:

Ontario Regulation 455/07 defines actions subject to on-the-spot licence and vehicle seizure for one week under S. 172 HTA. Upon conviction, drivers face a fine of anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000, up to six months imprisonment and licence suspension of up to two years (on subsequent conviction, up to 10 years).

“Race” or “contest” includes:

  • Racing two or more vehicles at a marked departure from the lawful rate of speed.
  • Chasing another vehicle.
  • Driving without due care and attention, without reasonable consideration for other road users or in a manner that may endanger others by: driving at a marked departure from the lawful rate of speed and either outdistancing or attempting to outdistance another vehicle or lane jumping near other vehicles in order to advance through traffic.

“Stunt” includes:

  • Motorcycle “wheelies” or driving any vehicle in a manner which indicates an intention to lift some or all of the tires from the road surface.
  • Intentional skidding when turning (includes ”drifting”).
  • Intentionally causing a vehicle to spin or circle without control (i.e. “doing donuts”).
  • Side-by-side driving where a vehicle occupies an oncoming lane for longer than needed for passing.
  •   Have person in trunk.
  •   Driver not in driver seat of moving vehicle.
  •   Drive at 50 km/h or more over the posted limit.
  •   Driving without due care and attention, without reasonable consideration for other road users or in a manner that may endanger others by: intentionally preventing another vehicle from passing; unnecessarily slowing or stopping in order to cut off or interfere with the movement of another vehicle; or driving, without justification, as close as possible to another vehicle, person or fixed object.
  •   Jumping a circular green light to make a left turn before straight-through oncoming traffic, which has the right of way, has begun to proceed (from being stopped at the preceding red light).

A “marked departure from the lawful rate of speed” means a rate of speed that may limit the ability of a driver of a motor vehicle to prudently adjust to changing circumstances on the highway. That is, at a speed unsafe for the traffic volume, road, weather and light conditions at the time.

York Regional Police Sgt. Ryan Hogan advises that while many of the above actions are covered under other section of the HTA, it’s now mandatory for police to lay charges under the Stunt Driving law – and tow your car away – rather than just issue a simple traffic ticket as before.

Information above is of a general nature only and was paraphrased for length. For legal purposes, refer to O. Reg. 455/07 verbatim.

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