May 08, 2020, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
Speeding and Racing on the roads and highways of the Region continue to be an extremely serious problem as police see “Dramatic Increase” in charges laid
Police have responded to the complaints of high speed car and motor cycle traffic with a two week enforcement blitz called “Project Overpass”. The blitz wound up last week and the results were nothing short of ‘disappointing’ according to the police.
More than 600 charges were laid with the most egregious case being the dangerous driver they pulled of the road travelling 143 km/h on highway 85. This pales in comparison to the stop on the expressway where three individuals were caught travelling in excess of 80 km/h over the limit. They wre reportedly racing one another.
Between April 17 and April 29 the WRPS laid 669 charges. While police province wide had anticipated that speeding would increase during the COVID-19 pandemic they were not prepared for what has unfolded. Charges of failure to move over for an emergency vehicle, stunt driving, speeding, careless driving, and fail to slow have all been laid. These are extremely serious charges which can have serious impacts on the ability to drive in the long term, licence revoking, loss of licence, impounding of vehicles, large fines, demerit points, and even jail time.
Stunt driving charges were up by 721% according to the regional police. Stunt driving is one of the most serious driving offences that can be laid under the Highway Traffic Act . Stunt driving is defined as:
1. Driving two or more motor vehicles at a rate of speed that is a marked departure from the lawful rate of speed and in a manner that indicates the drivers of the motor vehicles are engaged in a competition.
2. Driving a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates an intention to chase another motor vehicle.
3. 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 at a rate of speed that is a marked departure from the lawful rate of speed,
ii. outdistancing or attempting to outdistance one or more other motor vehicles while driving at a rate of speed that is a marked departure from the lawful rate of speed, or
iii. repeatedly changing lanes in close proximity to other vehicles so as to advance through the ordinary flow of traffic while driving at a rate of speed that is a marked departure from the lawful rate of speed. O. Reg. 455/07, s. 2 (1).
The definition of ‘stunt’ includes anyone engaging in the following driving behaviors:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Driving a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates an intention to spin it or cause it to circle, without maintaining control over it.
4. 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.
5. Driving a motor vehicle with a person in the trunk of the motor vehicle.
6. Driving a motor vehicle while the driver is not sitting in the driver’s seat.
7. Driving a motor vehicle at a rate of speed that is 50 kilometres per hour or more over the speed limit.
8. 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. O. Reg. 455/07, s. 3.
And finally, the most common basis for laying the Stunt Driving charge include:
- Competing or racing with another vehicle
- Chasing another vehicle
- Driving without due care and attention
- Lifting some or all of a vehicle’s tires from the road
- Driving where the tires lose traction with the road
- Spinning or turning a vehicle in an uncontrolled manner
- Driving beside another vehicle while in the oncoming lane of traffic for a prolonged period of time
- Driving with someone in the trunk of the vehicle
- Driving while not in the driver’s seat
- Purposely preventing others from passing
- Purposely stopping or slowing to interfere with other traffic
- Driving unreasonably close as possible to another vehicle, pedestrian or fixed object on or near the highway
- Turning left at an intersection across vehicles with the right of way in the opposite direction upon the light turning green.
Fines and penalties are significant. Those convicted are liable to fines from $2,000-$10,000 and imprisonment for up to 6 months and licence suspensiton for 2-10 years depending on how many convictions the individual has. There is a victim surcharge of 25% on top of the fine. There are demerit points, and then the resulting insurance increases, court costs, MTO fees for licence recovery, potential for having to redo the entire licence process, and attendance of mandatory driving school.
Police are asking people to slow down on the roads. Extreme speeds result in extreme accidents and danger to not only those speeding but all those around them on the roads, pedestrians, cyclists, and even neighbouring homes.
If you are charged for these offences by the police, you’ll need to make several important decisions. You should contact a lawyer immediately.