The Ontario government introduced legislation Monday that contains a series of road safety measures including tougher laws for street racing /stunt driving.
Known as the MOMS Act (Moving Ontarians More Safely Act, 2021), the proposed legislation introduces measures to combat high-risk driving and improve road safety, including longer driver’s licence suspensions and longer vehicle impoundment periods for drivers who engage in stunt driving, street racing and aggressive driving.
In the proposed bill, driver’s licence suspensions for stunt driving/street racing would go from seven days to 30 days, and vehicle impoundment from seven days to 14 days.
“Both as Minister of Transportation and a parent to driving-aged teens, I am extremely concerned by the rising numbers of young drivers in Ontario caught stunt driving, street racing and driving aggressively,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “By increasing driver’s licence suspensions and vehicle impoundment periods, the MOMS Act sends a clear message to drivers – driving is a privilege and those who threaten the safety of others have no place on our roads.”
Currently, police can charge a motorist with street racing/stunt driving if they are clocked travelling more than 50 km/h per hour over the posted speed limit.
The legislation would lower the threshold for laying street racing/stunt driving charges for those travelling 40 km/h per hour or more above the posted speed limit on roads where the speed limit is less than 80 km/h per hour.
If passed, the bill would expand stunt driving and street racing penalties in locations other than a highway, such as a parking lot.
As well, drivers convicted of stunt driving/street racing, or careless driving causing bodily harm or death would have to complete a driver training course before their licence is reinstated.
“At the start of the pandemic, our roads witnessed a significant decrease in traffic levels. But unfortunately, many drivers took these open roads as an invitation to put their foot down on the gas pedal,” said Mulroney.
Across Ontario, Mulroney said charges for stunt driving increased 52 per cent between this past March and August 2020 over the same period in 2019 despite far fewer vehicles on the road.
“Young drivers account for 42 per cent of drivers involved in collisions with a police recorded speed of 50 km/h per hour or more above the posted speed limit.”
The proposed legislation was welcomed by Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Thomas Carrique.
“Engaging in stunt driving, racing and speeding is more than just breaking the law. It endangers lives and results in fatalities and injuries on our roads every year.”
The proposed bill also contains measures to protect workers on or near highways, improves safety and standards in the trucking industry, and strengthens provincial oversight of the towing industry.
The MOMS Act would also update the definition of e-bikes to create three distinct classes (bicycle style, moped style and motorcycle style) so municipalities can choose classes to allow on their roads.