September 20, 2016, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
Speed on the roads kills. Crashes become much more dangerous and common at speed, and the likely hood of death of the driver and those struck increases dramatically. A ten-year study conducted by the OPP and released last year showed that although the number of fatalities in crashes declined over that period, most were preventable. It’s not clear whether better enforcement and education resulted in the decreased deaths, or that safety technology in cars increased the survival rates (most cars that are on the road now have at least front airbags).
The major causes of death are alcohol/drug driving, distracted driving, speed, seatbelt, lack of helmet (motorcycles). Other causes like animal strikes weren’t included as the number of deaths were relatively small. Speeding is the only causal factor that increased over the ten-year period. This is highlighted by the number of racing and stunt driving charges. Stunt driving is defined as driving over 50km/h over the limit.
This summer a man was stopped on the 401 in the ROW travelling at speeds of 180km/h. The 22-year-old man blew past an unmarked police car and then was chased down the highway forcing other drivers to take evasive manoeuvres to stay safe. He plead guilty to stunt driving, and was fined $2000 and banned from driving for 6 months.
The government takes dangerous driving extremely seriously. To be clear you lose your licence immediately, the car being driven is impounded for seven days regardless of who owns it. Stunt driving can also deal with road rage, and stunts (popping wheelies, donuts cutting people off at intersections). It also includes driving with someone in the trunk of your car, or driving without being in the driver’s seat. If you are drunk the fines double. Your insurance rates will skyrocket.
The MTO has summarized the penalties:
Drivers who are involved in street racing or aggressive-driving behaviours can face tough sanctions:
- 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
- Fines from $2,000 to $10,000
- Courts can impose a driver licence suspension of up to 10 years for a second conviction within 10 years
- The accumulation of six demerit points, a maximum licence suspension of two years for a first conviction and a maximum six months in jail.
The use of a connected nitrous oxide system while driving on a highway is prohibited, and the definition of a “stunt” includes speeding at 50 km/h or more above the posted limit.
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.
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.
For information on the regulation, you can visit the following websitehttps://www.ontario.ca/laws/ and search under current consolidated law for Highway Traffic Act - O. Reg. 339/94