Stunt driving laws were added to the Highway Traffic Act under section 172 in 2007. This law was put in place in an attempt to stop drivers from racing and performing stunts, which are a danger to both those operating and riding inside the motor vehicle as well as other drivers on the road and pedestrians. If you get a ticket under this section of the Highway Traffic Act, then there are many immediate consequences, including an immediate seven-day licence suspension and having your car impounded for seven days (even if it is not your car). If you are charged with racing or stunt driving, then you need legal representation, as the consequences are severe.
What constitutes racing and stunt driving?
- Speeding at more than 50 km/h over the posted speed limit.
- Road rage incidents – this includes chasing other vehicles, trying to purposefully make someone rear-end you, refusing to let people into traffic, purposefully cutting others off.
- Dodging in and out of lanes.
- Driving while you are not in the driver’s seat.
- Driving your motor vehicle with someone in the trunk.
- Street racing another motorized vehicle in a situation where there is a bet or wager.
- Driving with the specific intention of losing traction.
- Driving with the specific intention of lifting some or all of the tires off of the road.
- Doing circles, or donuts, on a roadway.
Many people are unaware that you can be charged under this act for road rage infractions.
What happens if you are charged?
The immediate penalties of being charged under racing and stunt driving include roadside licence suspension for seven days and roadside impounding of your motor vehicle for seven days. To get your licence back, you will need to go to the Ministry of Transport and pay a fee of $180. When you go to get your car back from the impound lot, you will be paying a fee for towing as well as a fee for the impound lot having kept your car for the amount of time it resided there. This is all before you have gone to court to argue your case.
Once you go to court, if you are found guilty under the racing and stunt driving laws then you face up to a two-year licence suspension on your first offence. If you have been found guilty of racing and stunt driving in the past, then you can face a suspension of upwards of 10 years. You may also be fined anywhere between $2000 to $10,000, $10,000 being the maximum. Depending on the severity of your offence you may also be imprisoned for up to a maximum of six months.
If you are charged with stunt driving, then there are some defences available to you based upon the facts of your case. If you are charged with going 50 km/h above the speed limit, for instance, a defence can be used to challenge the accuracy and reliability of the police officer’s radar equipment, including when the last time he or she calibrated their radar gun. For charges that involve losing traction, vehicle spins, or tires were lifting off of the road, a defence regarding your intention (whether you meant to do this purposefully or not) can be introduced, and road conditions on the day of will affect this defence.
A knowledgeable and experienced paralegal will be able to assist you if you are charged with racing or stunt driving. The team at Bulwark Legal Services understands how overwhelming going to court is. We also understand how important it is to have a strong defence. Contact us today so that we can help you.