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STUNT DRIVING / RACE MOTOR VEHICLE

Stunt Driving (also known as “Race Motor Vehicle” or “Racing”) charges are one of the most serious offences that can be issued under the Highway Traffic Act. These charges can be issued for travelling 50 km/h or more over the posted speed limit as well as a wide range of other circumstances that may surprise most Ontario drivers. Even before stepping foot in a court room, the police will have towed and impounded your vehicle as well as seized and suspended your driver’s licence. A defendant can be facing thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses well before their first court attendance.
WHAT IS STUNT DRIVING / RACE MOTOR VEHICLE?
Stunt Driving falls under section 172 of the Highway Traffic Act: “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.” This is an incredibly brief and broadly worded definition compared to the severity of the penalties that can be issued by the court. To find the actual definitions for what constitutes a “race,” “contest,” or “stunt,” it is necessary to turn to Ontario Regulation 455/07. “Race” or “contest” is defined as follows:
2. (1) For the purposes of section 172 of the Act, “race” and “contest” include any activity where one or more persons engage in any of the following driving behaviours:
  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,
    1. driving a motor vehicle at a rate of speed that is a marked departure from the lawful rate of speed,
    2. 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
    3. 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).
2) In this section, “marked departure from the lawful rate of speed” means a rate of speed that may limit the ability of a driver of a motor vehicle to prudently adjust to changing circumstances on the highway. O. Reg. 455/07, s. 2 (2).
“Stunt” has a very extensive variety of definitions under Ontario Regulation 455/07:
3. For the purposes of section 172 of the Act, “stunt” includes any activity where one or more persons engage in any of the following driving behaviours:
  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,
    1. driving a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates an intention to prevent another vehicle from passing,
    2. 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,
    3. 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
    4. making a left turn where,
      1. the driver is stopped at an intersection controlled by a traffic control signal system in response to a circular red indication;
      2. at least one vehicle facing the opposite direction is similarly stopped in response to a circular red indication; and
      3. 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.
The most common grounds that we see our clients charged under are for either losing tire traction with the road (such as performing a ‘burn out’ or squealing the tires due to rapid acceleration) or travelling at 50 km/h or more over the posted speed limit.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR STUNT DRIVING?
A conviction for Stunt Driving can result in court, licencing, and insurance penalties. The court penalties for Stunt Driving can include the following:
  • A fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $10,000 (plus a 25% victim fine surcharge)
  • Imprisonment for a term of not more than six months
  • A licence suspension up to 2 years for a first offence
  • A licence suspension up to 10 years for a subsequent offence
The MTO ranks Stunt Driving as a 6 demerit point offence. A convicted defendant will, at a minimum, receive an MTO warning letter regarding their licence. Depending upon your driving history and current demerit points, you could also be required to attend an MTO interview (that you must pay to attend) or face a mandatory suspension of your driver’s licence. Given the serious nature of Stunt Driving, a conviction may also result in no longer being insurable under a standard insurance policy. Being forced into high-risk insurance can result in thousands of dollars of additional insurances costs or not being insurable at all if the costs are unaffordable. Being charged with Stunt Driving incurs very serious consequences even before your first court date. Upon being charged, your vehicle will immediately be towed and impounded for seven days. Towing and impounding fees can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to well over a thousand dollars. Your driver’s licence will also be immediately seized and suspended. This means additional transportation costs in meeting your day-to-day travel requirements. Worst case, if your employment specifically requires having a valid driver’s licence you could miss work time or face loss of employment.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I’M A NOVICE DRIVER?
Novice drivers (such as those with a G1, G2, M1, or M2 licence) are subject to additional licencing restrictions compared to a fully-licenced driver. One such limitation is that being convicted of any single offence that carries 4 or more demerit points will result in the MTO applying escalated sanctions penalties as follows:
  • 30-day licence suspension for the first occurrence
  • 90-day licence suspension for the second occurrence
  • Licence cancellation and a requirement to re-apply for a G1/M1 after the third occurrence. Any fees paid, credit received for time spent in the program or BDE credit would be forfeited when the licence is cancelled. Please note that in the case of a hybrid driver, only the novice-class licence is cancelled on the third occasion; their full-class licence is maintained.
Novice drivers may already be at a default higher level of risk assessment for insurance costs. A conviction for Stunt Driving may therefore result in a larger impact to insurability and insurance costs compared to an equivalent driver with a full driver’s licence. Your insurance broker will be able to provide you with more specific and accurate information.
STUNT DRIVING AND COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLES
Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers must aggressively protect their driving record. CMV drivers face all of the usual licencing and insurance problems faced by a regular driver. However, more importantly, a conviction for Stunt Driving can also directly impact their current or future employability. If a transport truck driver or other CMV driver is charged with Stunt Driving while on the job, their offence notice will likely include their employer’s CVOR number. If convicted, not only would the driver receive a record of conviction and 6 demerit points, but their employer’s CVOR would also receive a record of conviction. Stunt Driving offences carry the highest possible CVOR penalty of 5 points. A 5 CVOR point conviction may result in the loss of the driver’s current employment as well as difficulty finding future employment.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I’M CHARGED WITH STUNT DRIVING?

Stunt Driving is an incredibly serious offence with enormous consequences should you be convicted. In the days and months following your having been charged by the police, a number of very important things will occur including the attendance of your mandatory First Appearance hearing listed on your summons. It is important that you are making informed legal decisions at each point in your case to protect your interests. A legal misstep at any point in your defence can result in either an unnecessary conviction or a poorer resolution.

Having a licenced paralegal representing you a court provides a number of important advantages. The most important of which is that you are being represented by someone licenced through the Law Society who knows the law and the court system. It is common for these cases to take anywhere from 6 to 12 months at court to be resolved and most of these cases can be resolved without requiring you to be present at court. This takes away an enormous amount of stress and anxiety for most defendants who are worried about appearing before the court and avoids the cost of missed work days for court attendances. Our experienced team will seek out any legal arguments to have your charge withdrawn as their first priority. If your offence can not be thrown out entirely, we can argue on your behalf for an entirely different lesser offence or negotiate for minimal penalties to protect you. If your case is best suited to a being argued as a full trial, having a licenced paralegal representing you will give you your best fighting chance to win your trial.

Our team is here to help you. We offer a no cost, no obligation initial consultation to go through your case history and details to understand your situation and provide you with an understanding of the offence and the court process. It is important that you are making informed decisions. If you have been charged by the police, our friendly staff can be reached via our toll-free number 1-844-647-6869, by email at info@otdlegal.ca, or via text at 226-240-2480. Any time of day or night, you can also submit an online consultation request and one of our staff will contact you during regular business hours to assist you.