Jan 17, 2022
Stunt Driving On The Rise In Ontario
Since the beginning of quarantine and self-isolation due to COVID-19, Toronto police report a 200% increase in stunt driving, compared to the same timeframe in 2019. Due to the dramatic drop in traffic, it appears the fast and furious have made city streets their new home.
Stunt driving is illegal in Ontario. It’s also extremely dangerous. Getting caught can lead to significant fines and car insurance repercussions. Even though the law has existed for many years, many drivers are unsure what actions classify it or what the penalties are.
As the numbers increase, it’s essential to know what the province is doing to protect communities and how you can make safer decisions on the road.
July 2021 Updates To Stunt Driving Rules In Ontario
As of July 1, 2021, The MOMS Act (Moving Ontarians More Safely Act 2021) has introduced new measures to combat dangerous driving and improve safety on the roads. This updated legislation comes with longer Ontario driver’s licence suspensions and impoundment periods for drivers who engage with stunt driving and street racing.
Here is a look at the updated charges, fines and penalties for stunt driving :
- Immediate penalties for drivers caught street racing or stunt driving has increased from seven days to a 30-day licence suspension and a 14-day vehicle impoundment.
- Drivers caught driving 40 km/h or more above the speed limit where the maximum is less than 80 km/h will face stunt driving charges.
- A minimum of a $2,000 fine and could be as high as $10,000.
- 6 demerit points.
What Is Considered Stunt Driving?
Stunt driving is the act of excessive speeding, street racing, contests and engaging in dangerous driving practices in a motor vehicle on an Ontario road or highway. It is driving that is careless and it puts others at risk. It has severe penalties, even for a first offence.
Between March 15 and March 31, 2020, there was a 35% increase in speeding tickets. Around 65 tickets were issued to drivers travelling faster than 50 km/over the speed limit.
It is important to know that it is not only speeding that counts as stunt driving. Drivers add illegal or upgraded car modifications to increase performance with suspensions, style enhancements, or high-performance motors.
According to Section 172(1) of the Highway Traffic Act in Ontario :
“No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway in a race or contest, while performing a stunt or on a bet or wager.”
Here are the many different driving actions that fall within the stunt driving category :
- 50 km/h or more over the speed limit where the limit is above 80 km/h.
- 40 km/h or more over the speed limit where the limit is 80 km/h or less.
- Driving at a speed of 150 km/h or more.
- Tire squealing, burnouts, or driving with the intention to cause some or all tires to lose traction.
- Cutting off another driver intentionally or driving too closely.
- Doing doughnuts, drifting, or driving a vehicle with the intention to spin.
- Not allowing other vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians to pass, change directions, or have the right of way.
- Driving your vehicle while not in the driver’s seat (known as ghost riding the whip).
- Driving with a person in the trunk of your vehicle or an extra seat.
- Driving without regard for road conditions and driving circumstances.
- Popping wheelies or driving with the intention to lift some or all your tires from the surface.
- Careless driving without reasonable concern or attention for others or endangering others.
Even though you may not be performing stunts or racing, you can still face penalties related to stunt driving, including hitting the gas heavy when the light turns green and making a left before the other cars come through.
What Happens If You Are Convicted For Stunt Driving?
If you are convicted of stunt driving in Ontario, you could face the following driver's license suspensions :
- First offence : minimum of one year but up to three years.
- Second offence : minimum of three years but up to 10 years.
- Third offence : lifetime suspension that may be reduced later — to be established by regulation.
- Fourth and subsequent offences : lifetime suspension.
As of January 2022, the Ontario government added $250 for a first offence, $350 for a second and $450 for a third within five years when motorists lose their licences.
Is Stunt Driving A Criminal Offense?
Since stunt driving falls within the Highway Traffic Act, it is not usually a criminal offence or in the criminal code. But, it is still a very serious charge and depending on the circumstances and accident, you could be arrested for it, fined, and face possible jail time.
What Is The Fine For Street Racing In Toronto?
Street racing is an illegal form of racing automobiles or motorcycles on public roads. In Toronto, residents often face street racing at all hours of day and night. Don Valley Parkway, the Gardiner Expressway and Spadina also seem to be favourite urban racetracks.
In 2019, 304 drivers were charged with street racing on 400-series highways in the Greater Toronto Area in just a month. Over the pandemic, police arrested 19 people in connection with street racing in North York.
If you are caught participating in street racing in Toronto, you can face fines that all fall under stunt driving, including licence suspension, vehicle seizure, and fines starting at $2,000.
What Are The Extra Costs Of Stunt Driving?
You have a lot more than fines to worry about affecting your finances. There are several other costs you must cover if you get a stunt driving charge. They are :
- A significant increase in your driving costs.
- Legal representation costs.
- Towing and impound fees.
- Costs to get your licence back.
- If you have a job that requires using a vehicle, your employment could be affected.
Getting charged will also get you put into the high-risk auto insurance category. This will increase your insurance costs significantly for several years. You could also have issues with your car insurance renewal in the future.
Stunt Driving FAQs
People most commonly associate stunt driving with excessive speeding. This is the most common reason people are charged with stunt driving (exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/hr or more). For example, you drive 100 km/hr in a 50 km/hr zone.
Yes. Similar to other traffic convictions, you can fight a stunt driving ticket. Consult a licensed paralegal or lawyer if you believe you have a case.
It’s possible to have charges dropped or reduced. Speak with your legal representation about your case and options.
Any driver can face a stunt driving ticket by exceeding the speed limit of more than 40 or 50 km/h depending on the posted limit.
If you are caught stunt driving in Ontario, you could face six demerit points.
Stunt Driving In Ontario Is Not Worth It
Think twice before you show off or engage in stunt driving on city roads or highways. It could be a costly decision if you get caught. Before you take out road rage or show off driving donuts, think about the consequences. It's always best to drive safely and follow the rules of the road to help keep all drivers safe and lower car insurance in Ontario.