What is Considered Stunt Driving in Ontario?

Stunt driving is a serious offence under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, section 172 (1). Many drivers find themselves facing stunt driving charges without fully understanding the consequences of this offence.

Understanding Stunt Driving Violations

Stunt driving includes a range of behaviors that extend beyond just speeding, though excessive speed is the most common trigger for these charges. In Ontario, behaviors considered stunt driving include:

  • Excessive Speed: Speeding 50 kilometers per hour (km/h) over the speed limit in zones with higher speed limits (e.g., 80 or 100 km/h zones) and 40 km/h over in lower speed limit areas.
  • Races or Wagers: Instances where drivers, through a mutual agreement, engage in impromptu races from a standstill, such as at traffic lights.
  • Endangering Pedestrians: Operating a vehicle dangerously close to pedestrians and posing a risk to their safety.
  • Obstructing Traffic: Deliberately driving too slowly or in a manner that disrupts the flow of traffic.
  • Carrying Passengers in the Trunk: An unusual but real example of behavior leading to stunt driving charges.
  • Disregarding Traffic Signals: Turning left immediately before or after a light turns green in both directions to beat oncoming traffic.
  • Chasing Other Vehicles: While it might seem harmless fun, chasing another vehicle is seen as dangerous and can result in many charges.


Speed-Related Stunt Driving

It’s crucial to recognize that most stunt driving charges stem from excessive speed. Over 95% of these charges involve drivers exceeding speed limits by significant margins. Specifically:

  • For highway speeds of 80 or 100 km/h, exceeding the limit by 50 km/h.
  • For lower speed zones (40, 50, 60, 70 km/h), going 40 km/h over the limit.
  • For traveling at or above 150 km/h

Stunt driving is a broad term encompassing various dangerous driving behaviors, with speeding being the predominant factor. 


Need Legal Assistance?

If you’re facing a stunt driving charge or have questions about your driving and its legal implications, OTD Legal is here to help. Our experienced team can provide the guidance and representation you need to navigate the complexities of traffic law in Ontario. Don’t let uncertainty about stunt driving charges affect your life. Contact us today at OTD Legal for professional legal assistance.


Video Transcription:

I’m going to talk to you today about the offense called stunt driving. It’s located under the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario, section 172. 1. There are many behaviors that would be considered stunt driving and In many cases, my clients are not quite sure what has happened or how this charge could have been handed to them.

So I’d like to talk a bit about that today, so that my clients have a better understanding of exactly what may have happened. Okay. The behaviors that are considered to be stunt driving, one of the most common would be something to do with speed. So the quantum of speed or the amount of speed above a speed limit is probably the most common type of stunt driving violation that I would see or anyone in Ontario.

There are however other types of behaviors that would import the charge of stunt driving. I, as I recall, one of the most common outside of that would be a race or wager. So, you would have two vehicles decide, you know, maybe by a nod. And I’ve had cases like this where two gentlemen pull up to a red light, let’s say, and they nod at each other and then they basically drag race off of that mark.

And if that’s been observed by a police officer both vehicles would very likely be stopped and and then I would have to deal with that sort of a violation, which is not a problem, but that is just simply one of the ways where it can happen. Other types of behaviors. Running your vehicle. Vehicles are considered to be a weapon, and when they become close to pedestrians or any person the automatic concern is the danger to that pedestrian. So if you’re observed, you know, running a little too quick to a pedestrian or driving that vehicle, In a, in a manner that seems unsafe, it’s possible you would be charged with stunt driving.

The other types of stunts you can imagine, I had a recent case like this where I had an angry client and he wasn’t observing the speed limit, he was driving too slow. And he was interfering with traffic while he was upset. Something had happened to him and he was using his vehicle in an inappropriate way and disturbing traffic and causing problems.

Things like that other things could be, it’s been 40 years of experience. So I’ve had cases where there have been persons in the trunk and when discovered, the driver of that motor vehicle had been charged with stunt driving. We’ve had You know, cases where you simply proceeding before green stopped at a red light, didn’t want to wait any longer and then simply move forward.

Yes, it’s a violation of a minor offense of disobeying that particular light, but we’ve had cases where, in fact, they have also been charged with stunt driving. Another example would be chasing a motor vehicle. You might be chasing your friend and it might be fun, but it’s simply an eyebrow raising event for a police officer and it’s pretty common at that point in time that they’re going to be stopped and you will see the summons for stunt driving. But I think, you know, to recap what we need to understand is most of the time when you or your friends or someone that you know in your family was charged with stunt driving, statistically over 95 percent of those charges are going to be borne out of some level of… speeding, you know, at a highway speeds of 80 or 100, you can you’d have to be doing at least 50 kilometers over the limit, and that would import a stunt driving charge. But at the lower speeds, you know, 40, 50, 60, 70, the vehicle only need to achieve 40 kilometers over that set limit. And again, you would be charged with stunt driving.

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