Stunt Driving in Ontario

Update: see previous posts – March 20, 2010 Court of Appeal overturns Stunt Driving Acquittal for Jane Raham, November 23, 2009 Stunt Driving ruled Unconstitutional a Second Time by Judge in Ontario., September 12, 2009 Ontario Stunt Driving (Speed Alone) ruled Unconstitutional by Judge Geoffrey J. Griffin. , July 1, 2009 Street Racing- section 172 of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act

In Ontario's cities, towns, villages and built-up areas where there are no posted speed limit signs, the Maximum Speed is 50 km/h. Elsewhere the maximum speed limit is 80 km/h.

If you are travelling 50 km/h (or 31 mph) over the posted speed limit (ie – 150 km/h in a 100 km/h zone or 140 km/h in a 90 km/h zone or 130 km/h in a 80 km/h zone) and police pull you over, you’ll quickly be introduced to the “Stunt Driving” laws of Ontario.

When you see the red/blue lights and/or hear the siren, remain calm and safely pull over to the right side of the road (or nearest edge of the roadway on one way streets).

Remain seated in your vehicle unless the officer advises otherwise. It may take the officer some time to run your vehicle through the computer systems and approach your vehicle, for safety reasons.

Ontario law requires drivers to produce their driver’s licence, vehicle registration and auto-insurance card upon demand of a police officer.

The officer will ask you for the following documents:

  • your driver’s licence, and
  • the vehicle registration document, and
  • the automobile insurance card for the vehicle you were driving in
  • The police officer will then advise you that you were travelling 50 kilometres in excess of the speed limit (or one of the other 7 elements of the the Stunt Driving law) on the highway, road or street that you were travelling on.

    You will be given a summons (a “ticket”) for Stunt Driving, requiring you to show up to a Provincial Offences Court,  in the area in which you were ticketed.

    The officer will inform you that as a result of the charge, in accordance with the Highway Traffic Act, your driver’s licence will immediately be suspended for seven (7) days. He/she will then ask you to surrender (give your licence to the officer) your driver’s licence. He/she will provide you with a notice of suspension showing the time that your driver’s licence will be suspended.

    The driver’s licence suspensions will apply not only to people with Ontario driver’s licences, but to drivers’ licensed by other jurisdictions as well.

    Keep in mind that driving is not a “right” it is a “privilege” as defined in the Highway Traffic Act, which 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

    The officer will further inform you that your motor vehicle (or the motor vehicle that you were driving at the time of the incident) will be immediately impounded for seven (7) days.  The officer will advise you with a copy of the notice showing the time that the impoundment of the vehicle you were driving, begins and ends and the place where the vehicle can be picked up or recovered. You will have to get out of the vehicle that you were driving and take your personal possessions with you, as a tow truck will be despatched to come and tow your vehicle to a nearby pound or storage lot/facility.

    You will probably have to call a taxi or try to hitch a ride with the tow truck operator, as your driver’s licence is now suspended for seven (7) days and the vehicle that you were travelling in, will be impounded for seven (7) days.

    You will have to pay the fees associated with the impoundment of the vehicle in question (towing charges and storage or impoundment fees) 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.

    In Ontarios cities, towns, villages and built-up areas where there are no posted speed limit signs, the Maximum Speed is 50 km/h. Elsewhere the maximum speed limit is 80 km/h.

    You will then be required to show up to the Provincial Offences Court in the area in which the stunt driving ticket was issued to you, to deal with the ticket.

    Potential Consequences If Conviction of Stunt Driving:

  • imprisonment for a term of not more than six (6) months; and
  • a minimum fine of $2,000 to a maximum fine of $10,000, (making these fine limits, the harshest in Canada); or both the term of imprisonment and up to the maximum fine, together;  and
  • upon conviction of racing, the driver will accumulate six (6) demerit points on their driver’s licence and could have their driver’s licence suspended for up to two (2) years, upon their first “racing” conviction. A subsequent “racing” conviction, within ten (10) years of the first conviction, could result in a driver’s licence suspension of ten (10) years.
  • See the Laws behind Stunt Driving

    On September 30, 2007, Ontario launched a new program to reduce street racing, stunt driving and extreme speeding. Drivers caught by the police engaging in such behaviour face a seven-day administrative vehicle impoundment and seven-day administrative licence suspension, along with the highest fines in Canada if convicted.

    The Stunt Driving legislation, Bill 203, Safer Roads for a Safer Ontario Act, 2007, came into effect in Ontario on September 30, 2007 (Royal Assent was received on June 24/07).

    As a result of the implementation of this law in Ontario, the Highway Traffic Act was amended to include section 172 and its related subsections.

    ONTARIO REGULATION 455/07 “RACES, CONTESTS AND STUNTS” now defines “Stunt” in a numerous number of ways (not just speeding at 50 km/h (31 mph) over the speed limit).

    Stunt Driving charges can be laid for the following Driving Behaviours (in addition to travelling 50 km/h (or 31.0686 mph) in a Motor Vehicle over the regulated speed limit):

  • Driving a motor vehicle at a rate of speed that is 50 kilometres per hour (or 31 mph) or more over the speed limit.
  • Driving a motor vehicle with a person in the trunk of the motor vehicle.
  • Driving a motor vehicle while the driver is not sitting in the driver’s seat.
  • Driving a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates an intention to spin it or cause it to circle, without maintaining control over it.
  • Driving a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates an intention to cause some or all of its tires to lose traction with the surface of the highway while turning.
  • Driving a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates an intention to lift some or all of its tires from the surface of the highway, including driving a motorcycle with only one wheel in contact with the ground, but not including the use of lift axles on commercial motor vehicles.
  • Driving two or more motor vehicles side by side or in proximity to each other, where one of the motor vehicles occupies a lane of traffic or other portion of the highway intended for use by oncoming traffic for a period of time that is longer than is reasonably required to pass another motor vehicle.
  • Driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention, without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway or in a manner that may endanger any person by,
  • – i. driving a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates an intention to prevent another vehicle from passing,
    – ii. stopping or slowing down a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates the driver’s sole intention in stopping or slowing down is to interfere with the movement of another vehicle by cutting off its passage on the highway or to cause another vehicle to stop or slow down in circumstances where the other vehicle would not ordinarily do so,
    – iii. driving a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates an intention to drive, without justification, as close as possible to another vehicle, pedestrian or fixed object on or near the highway, or
    – iv. making a left turn where:
    (A) the driver is stopped at an intersection controlled by a traffic control signal system in response to a circular red indication;
    (B) at least one vehicle facing the opposite direction is similarly stopped in response to a circular red indication; and
    (C) the driver executes the left turn immediately before or after the system shows only a circular green indication in both directions and in a manner that indicates an intention to complete or attempt to complete the left turn before the vehicle facing the opposite direction is able to proceed straight through the intersection in response to the circular green indication facing that vehicle.

    Here is what the Ontario Highway Traffic Act states about Stunt Driving:

    Racing, Stunts, etc., Prohibited

    172. (1) 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. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Offence

    (2) Every person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition his or her driver’s licence may be suspended,

    (a) on a first conviction under this section, for not more than two years; or

    (b) on a subsequent conviction under this section, for not more than 10 years. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Determining Subsequent Conviction

    (3) In determining whether a conviction is a subsequent conviction for the purposes of subsection (2), the only question to be considered is the sequence of convictions and no consideration shall be given to the sequence of commission of offences or whether any offence occurred before or after any conviction. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Ten (10) – Year Limitation

    (4) A conviction that is more than 10 years after the previous conviction is deemed to be a first conviction for the purpose of subsection (2). 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Police to Require Surrender of Licence, Detention of Vehicle

    (5) Where a police officer believes on reasonable and probable grounds that a person is driving, or has driven, a motor vehicle on a highway in contravention of subsection (1), the officer shall,

    (a) request that the person surrender his or her driver’s licence; and

    (b) detain the motor vehicle that was being driven by the person until it is impounded under clause (7) (b). 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Administrative Seven (7) – Day Licence Suspension

    (6) Upon a request being made under clause (5) (a), the person to whom the request is made shall forthwith surrender his or her driver’s licence to the police officer and, whether or not the person is unable or fails to surrender the licence to the police officer, his or her driver’s licence is suspended for a period of seven days from the time the request is made. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Administrative Seven (7) – Day Vehicle Impoundment

    (7) Upon a motor vehicle being detained under clause (5) (b), the motor vehicle shall, at the cost of and risk to its owner,

    (a) be removed to an impound facility as directed by a police officer; and

    (b) be impounded for seven days from the time it was detained under clause (5) (b). 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Release of  Vehicle

    (8) Subject to subsection (15), the motor vehicle shall be released to its owner from the impound facility upon the expiry of the period of impoundment. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Early Release of  Vehicle

    (9) Despite the detention or impoundment of a motor vehicle under this section, a police officer may release the motor vehicle to its owner before it is impounded under subsection (7) or, subject to subsection (15), may direct the operator of the impound facility where the motor vehicle is impounded to release the motor vehicle to its owner before the expiry of the seven days if the officer is satisfied that the motor vehicle was stolen at the time that it was driven on a highway in contravention of subsection (1). 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Duty of Officer re: Licence Suspension

    (10) Every officer who asks for the surrender of a person’s driver’s licence under this section shall keep a record of the licence received with the name and address of the person and the date and time of the suspension and shall, as soon as practicable after receiving the licence, provide the person with a notice of suspension showing the time from which the suspension takes effect and the period of time for which the licence is suspended. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Duty of Officer re: Impoundment

    (11) Every officer who detains a motor vehicle under this section shall prepare a notice identifying the motor vehicle that is to be impounded under subsection (7), the name and address of the driver and the date and time of the impoundment and shall, as soon as practicable after the impoundment of the motor vehicle, provide the driver with a copy of the notice showing the time from which the impoundment takes effect, the period of time for which the motor vehicle is impounded and the place where the vehicle may be recovered. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Same

    (12) A police officer shall provide a copy of the notice prepared under subsection (11) to the owner of the motor vehicle by delivering it personally or by mail to the address of the owner shown on the permit for the motor vehicle or to the latest address for the owner appearing on the records of the Ministry. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    No Appeal or Hearing

    (13) There is no appeal from, or right to be heard before, a vehicle detention, driver’s licence suspension or vehicle impoundment under subsection (5), (6) or (7), but this subsection does not affect the taking of any proceeding in court. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Lien for Storage Costs

    (14) The costs incurred by the person who operates the impound facility where a motor vehicle is impounded under this section are a lien on the motor vehicle that may be enforced under the Repair and Storage Liens Act. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Costs to be Paid before Release of  Vehicle

    (15) The person who operates the impound facility where a motor vehicle is impounded under subsection (7) is not required to release the motor vehicle until the removal and impound costs for the vehicle have been paid. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Owner may Recover Losses from Driver

    (16) The owner of a motor vehicle that is impounded under this section may bring an action against the driver of the motor vehicle at the time the vehicle was detained under clause (5) (b) to recover any costs or other losses incurred by the owner in connection with the impoundment. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Offence

    (17) Every person who obstructs or interferes with a police officer in the performance of his or her duties under this section is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $200 and not more than $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Intent of Suspension and Impoundment

    (18) The suspension of a driver’s licence and the impoundment of a motor vehicle under this section are intended to promote compliance with this Act and to thereby safeguard the public and do not constitute an alternative to any proceeding or penalty arising from the same circumstances or around the same time. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Impoundment Concurrent with other Administrative Impoundments

    (18.1) The impoundment of a motor vehicle under this section runs concurrently with an impoundment, if any, of the same motor vehicle under section 41.4, 48.4, 55.1, 55.2 or 82.1. 2009, c. 5, s. 51 (1).

    (19) Repealed: 2008, c. 17, s. 43.

    Regulations

    (20) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations,

    (a) requiring police officers to keep records with respect to licence suspensions and vehicle impoundments under this section for a specified period of time and to report specified information with respect to licence suspensions and vehicle impoundments to the Registrar and governing such records and reports;

    (b) exempting any class of persons or class or type of vehicles from any provision or requirement of this section or of any regulation made under this section, prescribing conditions for any such exemptions and prescribing different requirements for different classes of persons or different classes or types of vehicles;

    (c) defining the terms “race”, “contest” and “stunt” for the purposes of this section. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Definition

    (21) In this section,

    “driver’s licence” includes a driver’s licence issued by another jurisdiction. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.

    Same

    (22) In this section and in section 172.1,

    “motor vehicle” includes a street car, a motorized snow vehicle, a farm tractor, a self-propelled implement of husbandry and a road-building machine. 2009, c. 5, s. 51 (2).

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