On September 30, 2007 the Safer Roads for a Safer Ontario Act was implemented in Ontario at 12:01 a.m. One of the objectives of this legislation, which amended the Highway Traffic Act (the HTA), was to target street racers and aggressive drivers who became a hazard to other motorists, pedestrians and themselves. This Act modified the definition of “street racing” to include, “driving a motor vehicle at 50 km/h (or 31.0686 miles per hour) or more, above the posted speed limit” (see Ontario Regulation 455/07).
If, as a driver, you are pulled over by a police officer and accused of speeding in excess of the posted speed limit by 50 kilometres an hour or more, you will be subjected to an administrative suspension of your driver’s licence for seven days (see section 172(6)) of the HTA and will have the vehicle that you are racing in (whether you own it or not) impounded for seven (7) days (see section 172(7)) of the HTA. You will then receive a summons and be expected to attend a Provincial Offences Court to have your racing charge dealt with.
You will have to pay the fees associated with the impoundment of the vehicle in question and the vehicle will not be released, until you have paid all of the costs associated with the impoundment and storage of your vehicle in accordance with section 172 (14) of the HTA.
You cannot appeal or be heard before a court regarding the decision with respect to your vehicle’s detention, your administrative driver’s licence suspension or your vehicle’s impoundment (see section 172(13) of the HTA). There is no appeal process in place. Many feel that this “total absence of due process” is unfair to motorists and is associated with a law that is draconian in nature and offends section 11 (d) of the Charter. An O.P.P. officer with over a decade on the force, was recently charged with three counts of breach of trust and one count of attempting to obstruct justice, after an investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police Professional Standards Bureau.
Driver’s convicted of “racing” now faces, upon conviction of contravening section 172 of the Highway Traffic Act:
The Highway Traffic Act states, in part: Section 31 Driving a privilege: The purpose of this Part is protect the public by ensuring that,
(a) the privilege of driving on a highway is granted to, and retained by, only those persons, who demonstrate that they are likely to drive safely;
Section 81 of the Provincial Offences Act states: “Ignorance of the law by a person who commits an offence is not an excuse for committing the offence”.
The driver’s licence suspensions will apply not only to people with Ontario driver’s licences, but to drivers licensed by another jurisdiction as well. (See Reciprocal agreements between Ontario the U.S. States of New York and Michigan (see section 40 of the Highway Traffic Act), as well as the Canadian Driver Licence Compact “CDLC”).
The Courts in Ontario have now defined “Racing” pursuant to section 172 of the HTA as a “strict liability offence”. Speeding (49 kilometres or less than the posted or regulated speed limit) carries with it a charge under section 128 of the HTA and has been defined by the Courts in Ontario as an “absolute liability offence”. As of a year ago, the conviction rate for this offence stood at about 30%. This means that about one out of every three motorists who were charged, were actually convicted. This is probably due to the fact that the consequences of a conviction are so severe, that most motorists feel that they have not choice, but to challenge the charge(s) in court.
Since the implemenation of the new racing laws on September 30, 2007 thousands of motorists have been charged on the highways and streets and roads of Ontario. In the first day, twenty eight (28) motorists were charged. In addition to thousands of motorists, at least three (3) O.P.P. officers, who have the duty to enforce this law. were charged with racing pursuant to section 172 of the HTA. Now a high ranking Toronto Fire Chief has been charged with allegedly contravening the racing laws, not while he was on duty, but on vacation, on the way to a funeral, in a Toronto Fire Services owned vehicle (SUV).
It is alleged that a veteran employee of the Toronto Fire Services department was racing, in contravention of section 172 of the Highway Traffic Act, on his way to a funeral, in a vehicle owned by the Toronto Fires Services, on Friday, June 26, 2009.
An Ontario Provincial Police officer (O.P.P) within a patrol aircraft patrolling highway 401 (in the Port Hope area – near Wesleyville) witnessed a red Toyota Highlander travelling 50 kilometres over the posted speed limit on June 26, 2009 at approximately 9:26 a.m on the Highway of Heroes.
The red Toyota Highlander, was then pulled over at approximately 9:30 a.m. west of Port Hope, by an O.P.P. cruiser and the driver of the red bullet, identified himself as Daryl Fugerlud. Mr. Daryl Fugerlud is the currently appointed Deputy Fire Chief/Director(Staff Services and Communications)(416-338-9053). Fire Chief Fugerlud has been working with Fire Services for 28 years (he started in 1979 as a firefighter and occupied different positions (Captain, Platoon Chief, Division Commander) and was promoted to the appointed position of Deputy Fire Chief/Director two years ago, on June 1, 2007.
The fire engine red Toyota Highlander, which is owned by the Toronto Fire Services, in accordance with section 172 of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, had to be impounded for seven days and the Deputy Fire Chief’s personal driver’s licence, had to be suspended for a week, in accordance with the requirements of section 172 of the Highway Traffic Act.
Toronto Fire Chief’s Daryl Fugerlud, is scheduled to appear in court to answer to the charge of “racing”, on Wednesday, August 5, 2009 at:
Cobourg (Northumberland County) Courthouse
860 William St.
Cobourg ON K9A 3A9
Toronto Fire Service’s Deputy Fire Chief Daryl Fugerlud was on vacation when this occurred and will remain on it, when he is scheduled to appear in court in Cobourg on Aug. 5, 2009.
Update: October 7, 2009 – Toronto’s Deputy Fire Chief, 53 year old Daryl Fugerlud, “avoids street-racing fine” by showing remorse and pleading guilty to a lesser charge of “speeding”. Toronto Fire Services Deputy Fire Chief Daryl Fuglerud admitted through his lawyer in Provincial Court in Cobourg on Wednesday, October 7, 2009 that he drove 50 km/h over the speed limit on Hwy. 401 near Port Hope in June. He was fined $343.