• Friday, 07 July 2017

Street Racing: Ontario Laws Target Its Dangers

#AskStevenWilder

Ontario Provincial Police have launched an effort to rid the streets of drivers engaged in street racing. Using officers in the air and on the ground to spot the illegal activity, the department intends to seize vehicles and charge drivers with violations of the law. Besides being against the law, street racing endangers the safety of participants, spectators and other vehicles on the roads. The OPP efforts began even before the start of the new campaign with the seizure of 12 cars at one location and the filing of charges against their drivers.

Ontario laws against street racing

The Highway Traffic Act makes it illegal to engage in races, stunts or contests while operating a motor vehicle on the public streets. The law lists behaviours engaged in by drivers that violate the law, including:

  • Exceeding the speed limit by 50 kilometers per hour or more
  • Causing a vehicle to spin or circle
  • Causing one or more wheels of a vehicle to leave the ground
  • Driving without due care or attention
  • Preventing another vehicle from passing
  • Two or more vehicles driving side-by-side where at least one of the vehicles occupies a lane intended for oncoming traffic
  • High speeds decreasing a driver’s ability to react to pedestrians and other motorists
  • Loss of control of a vehicle because of speed or unsafe maneuvers
  • Rollover hazards

Police officers observing these or any of the other behaviours described in the statute may charge the drivers with violating the law. Some of the behaviours, such as refusing to allow another vehicle to pass, are not limited to individuals engaged in street racing. Someone who gets angry at another driver and engages in dangerous behaviours could also be charged with violating the law.

Penalties associated with street racing violations

Police are authorized to seize the licence of any driver caught violating the law. One of the penalties for street racing is a seven-day suspension of the person’s licence to drive. The vehicle the person was operating at the time he or she was pulled over by the police is seized and held for seven days with the towing and impound fees charged to the owner of the vehicle.

The vehicle seizure rules do not make exceptions in cases in which the person charged by police is driving a car or other vehicle owned by someone else. The car will be seized and whoever tries to claim it at the end of the seven days must pay the fees before it will be released.

A conviction for violating the law carries with it a minimum fine of $2,000 for a first offence, but it can be as high as $10,000. Other penalties include up to six months in jail and a two-year suspension of a person’s licence to drive.

Street racing poses a danger to others

Reckless and careless driving behaviours associated with street racing can cause accidents and injuries to bystanders and other motorists due to the following:

  • High speeds decreasing a driver’s ability to react to pedestrians and other motorists
  • Loss of control of a vehicle because of speed or unsafe maneuvers
  • Rollover hazards

Accidents caused by street racing or by vehicles performing stunts can cause injury or death to the participants and to innocent victims. The provisions of the Ontario law and enforcement efforts by police appear to have resulted in a decrease in speed-related accidents among young drivers, but anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident should speak to a lawyer to find out what rights exist under the law.

Talk to a lawyer when street racing accidents happen

If you are injured due to a street racing accident, thepersonal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamondare there to help you recover compensation. We have offices located throughout Ontario staffed by professionals to assist you. Call our 24/7 personal injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to one of our team members. We offer free consultations and case evaluations.

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