While speeding is a year-round problem on our roadways, it seems that street racing is a summer problem in Ontario. There have been several reports of drivers being charged with street racing in the last few weeks, and tragically one driver died in in a single vehicle crash after suspected racing. It has become such a problem that more than 15,000 Ontario drivers have been charged under the stunt driving laws since they were introduced in 2007.
Reports from Burlington suggest that two Audis and a black Toyota were racing in Oakville and the race continued to Oakville near Guelph line when the Toyota hit the centre median. The driver escaped unharmed, but the 26-year-old male passenger did not. He was extricated but died shortly after at hospital.
Police are now examining the role aggressive driving, alcohol, and speed played in the incident. Charges are pending.
Street racing is “one of the most serious and reckless forms of aggressive driving” as stated in the MTO website. “It shows a callous disregard for other drivers and road users, and it puts everyone on the road at serious risk of injury or death...racers run the risk of being charged under the Criminal Code”.
The province and police are taking the street racing and stunt driving problem very seriously and are aggressively targeting drivers. In Toronto alone, there were more than 200 charges laid in 2016. Police are troubled by the numbers and the trend. Police immediately impound cars of stunt drivers and racers. A street racing charge automatically leads to conviction with minimum fines of $2000 up to $10,000, demerit points, driver suspension, and a maximum jail time of 6 months is also possible. Car insurance rates will enter the stratosphere for these drivers. Upon subsequent conviction the Courts can impose licence suspensions of up to 10 years.
Police urge drivers that want to race to do it on tracks, not on public roads where they place all other users at a high risk of injury or death.
Stunt Driving includes popping a wheelie, driving with a person in the trunk, doing doughnuts and other dangerous behaviors like intentionally cutting off other cars, or driving too close to another vehicle, pedestrian or object, or having driving contests. The Racing is defined as any speeding greater than 50 km/h over the speed limit. The following excerpt from the MTO website outlines the sanctions that drivers will face who are caught street racing, stunt An immediate seven-day licence suspension and seven-day vehicle impoundment at roadside when a police officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe the offence was committed
Courts can impose a driver licence suspension of up to 10 years for a second conviction within 10 years
The risk of a fatality or serious injury is almost five times greater for vehicles crashing at 50 km/h or more above the posted limit on a highway with a posted limit of 100 km/h. The increase in risk is even greater on roads with lower posted limits. For example, on roads with a posted limit of 60 km/h or less, the risk of a fatality or serious injury is almost eight times greater for vehicles colliding at 50 km/h or more above the posted limit.
<a data-cke-saved-href="http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/handbook//section2.10.1.shtml" href="http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/handbook//section2.10.1.shtml" onclick="window.open(this.href, " ',="" 'resizable="no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no');" return="" false;'="">Other dangerous behaviours are also now defined as stunts: driving in such a way that prevents another vehicle from passing, intentionally cutting off another vehicle, or intentionally driving too close to another vehicle, pedestrian or fixed object.
<a data-cke-saved-href="http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/handbook//section2.10.1.shtml" href="http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/handbook//section2.10.1.shtml" onclick="window.open(this.href, " ',="" 'resizable="no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no');" return="" false;'="">For information on the regulation, you can visit the following website https://www.ontario.ca/laws/ and search under current consolidated law for Highway Traffic Act - O. Reg. 339/94