Stunt Driving – Highway Traffic Act s.172
What is Stunt Driving
In Ontario, stunt driving encompasses a range of dangerous driving behaviors that are not only reckless but also pose a significant threat to public safety.
This includes acts like excessive speeding, often well above the posted speed limits, engaging in street racing, or participating in contests that showcase risky driving maneuvers. These activities are deemed as showing a blatant disregard for the rules of the road and the well-being of other road users.
As a result, the legal consequences in Ontario for stunt driving are strict resulting in large fines, immediate licence suspensions and even jail.
Stunt Driving Definition
- Driving two or more vehicles at a speed significantly over the legal limit in a competitive manner.
- Driving in a manner that suggests an intention to chase another vehicle.
- Driving without due care, attention, or consideration for others, or in a way that endangers anyone by exceeding the lawful speed limit markedly, trying to outdistance other vehicles at such high speeds, or frequently changing lanes near other vehicles to overtake them at high speeds.
The term “stunt driving” includes activities like:
- Driving with the intention of lifting the vehicle’s tires off the ground.
- Intending to lose tire traction while turning.
- Driving in a way that the vehicle spins or circles uncontrollably.
- Two or more vehicles driving side by side, with one blocking traffic lanes for longer than necessary.
- Having a person in the trunk while driving.
- Driving without being seated in the driver’s seat.
- Exceeding the speed limit by 40 km/h where the limit is under 80 km/h, or by 50 km/h or more where the limit is 80 km/h or higher.
- Driving at speeds over 150 km/h.
- Driving without due care and attention or without considering others on the highway, or in a way that endangers anyone by driving to prevent another vehicle from passing, stopping or slowing down intentionally to interfere with another vehicle’s movement, intentionally driving too close to another vehicle, pedestrian, or fixed object, or making a left turn at an intersection with a traffic signal in a specific manner.
These actions are considered hazardous driving behaviors, requiring serious penalties, underscoring the importance of adhering to safe driving practices.
Stunt Driving: Penalties
The penalties for stunt driving in Ontario include:
- Licence Suspension: An immediate 7-day licence suspension is imposed at the roadside for a first offence. Upon conviction, the suspension can extend from a minimum of 1 year to up to 3 years for a first offense, and up to 10 years for subsequent offenses.
- Vehicle Impoundment and Costs: The offending vehicle is subject to an administrative 14-day impoundment at the owner’s expense. This includes towing and storage fees, which can approximately costing in excess of $1,000. The vehicle will be removed to an impound facility as directed by a police officer and held for 14 days from the day it was detained.
- Fines: Fines for stunt driving range between $2,000 and $10,000, reflecting the severity of this offence, in addition to this there is a 20% surcharge on stunt driving fines, e.g. $10,000 plus surcharge of $2,000.
- Demerit Points and Novice Driver Implications: Stunt driving results in 6 demerit points. For novice drivers, this accumulation of points can lead to additional license suspensions due to a breach of the demerit point limits.
- Possible Imprisonment: Offenders may face imprisonment for up to six months for severe or repeated offenses.</li
- Insurance Implications: Being convicted of stunt driving can lead to significantly increased insurance premiums. In some cases, insurers may even classify the driver as high-risk or refuse coverage altogether. This can have a long-lasting financial impact and may also affect the driver’s ability to secure insurance in the future.
In summary, the consequences of stunt driving in Ontario are severe, encompassing immediate and long term license suspensions, costly vehicle impoundment, hefty fines, demerit points, potential imprisonment, and significant insurance repercussions, all of which highlight the seriousness with which this offense is treated.
Convictions for stunt driving have a significant impact on insurance premiums. Insurance providers view a stunt driving conviction as a major violation, leading to substantial rate increases. Many drivers with a stunt driving conviction will find they are put into high risk insurance rates.
This is due to the perception that drivers convicted of stunt driving pose a higher risk of being involved in accidents that result in claims.
For novice drivers with a Class G1 or Class G2 licences, insurance rates are affected for several reasons:
- The initial 7-day roadside suspension.
- A mandatory 30-day license suspension for demerit point limits.
- Minimum one year licence suspension for stunt driving conviction
- Major conviction on the driving record.
Most novice drivers, once convicted of stunt driving, face the likelihood of being deemed uninsurable due to the high accident risk associated with such serious driving offences.
Summons to Appear in Court
Racing, stunts, etc., prohibited
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.
(2) Every person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition his or her driver’s licence may be suspended,
(a) on a first conviction under this section, for not more than two years; or
(b) on a subsequent conviction under this section, for not more than 10 years.
Determining subsequent conviction
(3) In determining whether a conviction is a subsequent conviction for the purposes of subsection (2), the only question to be considered is the sequence of convictions and no consideration shall be given to the sequence of commission of offences or whether any offence occurred before or after any conviction.
(4) A conviction that is more than 10 years after the previous conviction is deemed to be a first conviction for the purpose of subsection (2).
Police to require surrender of licence, detention of vehicle
(5) Where a police officer believes on reasonable and probable grounds that a person is driving, or has driven, a motor vehicle on a highway in contravention of subsection (1), the officer shall,
(a) request that the person surrender his or her driver’s licence; and
(b) detain the motor vehicle that was being driven by the person until it is impounded under clause (7) (b).
Administrative seven-day licence suspension
(6) Upon a request being made under clause (5) (a), the person to whom the request is made shall forthwith surrender his or her driver’s licence to the police officer and, whether or not the person is unable or fails to surrender the licence to the police officer, his or her driver’s licence is suspended for a period of seven days from the time the request is made.
Administrative seven-day vehicle impoundment
(7) Upon a motor vehicle being detained under clause (5) (b), the motor vehicle shall, at the cost of and risk to its owner,
(a) be removed to an impound facility as directed by a police officer; and
(b) be impounded for seven days from the time it was detained under clause (5) (b).
Release of vehicle
(8) Subject to subsection (15), the motor vehicle shall be released to its owner from the impound facility upon the expiry of the period of impoundment.
Early release of vehicle
(9) Despite the detention or impoundment of a motor vehicle under this section, a police officer may release the motor vehicle to its owner before it is impounded under subsection (7) or, subject to subsection (15), may direct the operator of the impound facility where the motor vehicle is impounded to release the motor vehicle to its owner before the expiry of the seven days if the officer is satisfied that the motor vehicle was stolen at the time that it was driven on a highway in contravention of subsection (1).
Duty of officer re licence suspension
(10) Every officer who asks for the surrender of a person’s driver’s licence under this section shall keep a record of the licence received with the name and address of the person and the date and time of the suspension and shall, as soon as practicable after receiving the licence, provide the person with a notice of suspension showing the time from which the suspension takes effect and the period of time for which the licence is suspended.
Duty of officer re impoundment
(11) Every officer who detains a motor vehicle under this section shall prepare a notice identifying the motor vehicle that is to be impounded under subsection (7), the name and address of the driver and the date and time of the impoundment and shall, as soon as practicable after the impoundment of the motor vehicle, provide the driver with a copy of the notice showing the time from which the impoundment takes effect, the period of time for which the motor vehicle is impounded and the place where the vehicle may be recovered.
(12) A police officer shall provide a copy of the notice prepared under subsection (11) to the owner of the motor vehicle by delivering it personally or by mail to the address of the owner shown on the permit for the motor vehicle or to the latest address for the owner appearing on the records of the Ministry. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.
No appeal or hearing
(13) There is no appeal from, or right to be heard before, a vehicle detention, driver’s licence suspension or vehicle impoundment under subsection (5), (6) or (7), but this subsection does not affect the taking of any proceeding in court.
Lien for storage costs
(14) The costs incurred by the person who operates the impound facility where a motor vehicle is impounded under this section are a lien on the motor vehicle that may be enforced under the Repair and Storage Liens Act.
Costs to be paid before release of vehicle
(15) The person who operates the impound facility where a motor vehicle is impounded under subsection (7) is not required to release the motor vehicle until the removal and impound costs for the vehicle have been paid.
Owner may recover losses from driver
(16) The owner of a motor vehicle that is impounded under this section may bring an action against the driver of the motor vehicle at the time the vehicle was detained under clause (5) (b) to recover any costs or other losses incurred by the owner in connection with the impoundment.
R. v. Tavukoglu, 2009 ONCJ 606 (CanLII)
2009-12-17 | 30 pages | cited by 2 documents
stunt driving — absolute liability — offence — speed limit — due diligence
[…] a. Finding that none of the seven acts defined as a “stunt” could alone constitute stunt driving within the meaning of section 172 of the HTA ; […] has to be more than just speeding as part of the allegation.” I agree with the Crown’s argument contained in paragraph 7 of its factum that any one of the 8 driving behaviours that are proscribed by s. 3(7) of the regulation is sufficient to constitute an offence of stunt driving within the meaning of s. 172 of the HTA . […]  The Crown argues that an application of all of these principles and submissions should lead to the conclusion that the absence of statutory language similar to s.84.1 of the HTA coupled with the overall legislative pattern of the stunt racing provisions contained in such stunt driving provisions contained in O. Reg. […]
R. v. Sgotto, 2009 ONCJ 48 (CanLII)
2009-02-17 | 15 pages | cited by 4 documents
strict liability offence — stunt — speeding — defence of due diligence — absolute liability offence
[…] Racing, stunts, etc., prohibited 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. […] The Crown argues that the rules of statutory interpretation support the conclusion that the offence of stunt driving should be interpreted as a strict liability offence. […] The Crown argues that although there appears to be an overlap between s.128, and stunt driving as defined by s.172(2) of the Highway Traffic Act and s.3.7 of Regulation 455/07, the argument fails once the offence of stunt driving is interpreted as a strict liability offence. […]
R. v. Raham, 2010 ONCA 206 (CanLII)
2010-03-18 | 27 pages | cited by 102 documents
stunt driving — offence — speeding — due diligence defence — motor vehicle
[…] as strict liability where possible to construe as absolute or strict liability — Offence of stunt driving by speeding one of strict liability — Offence not violating s. 7 of Charter — Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms , s. 7 — Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8 , s. 172 — O. Reg. 455/07 , s. 3 . […] Criminal law — Provincial offences — Stunt driving — Section 172 of Highway Traffic Act creating separate offence of stunt driving — Stunt driving not confined to driving in race or contest and encompassing offence of stunt driving by speeding more than 50 kph over limit one of strict liability — Offence not violating […] Section 172 of the Highway Traffic Act creates the offence of stunt driving, which is punishable by a fine, a term of imprisonment or both. […]