When viral videos of dudes pouring gasoline onto Toronto road then doing donuts in the ring of fire, you just knew a reaction was coming.
Since last year, there’s been a lot of media attention on drivers doing outrageous speeds on public roads. Between the pandemic, provincial restrictions and stay-at-home orders, empty roads seems to have tempted motorists to drive at excessive speeds. Toronto Police handed out over 800 stunt driving charges in 2020, more than double the previous year. Roadside suspensions are up by 50% too.
The Highway Traffic Act defines stunt driving as doing donuts, burnouts and drifting, but it also includes street racing, defined as speeding 50 km/h over the limit, as stunt driving too. In Ontario there were well publicized instances of drivers doing 205 km/h in 40 km/h zone and even 271 km/h on a highway during the early days of the pandemic. But video of that groups of speed demons gathering to stunt on suburban streets…during a provincial stay-at-home order…It was only a matter of time until the province stepped up the penalties.
On Monday, the Ford government introduced in the legislature the Moving Ontarians More Safely (MOMS) Act. Driving penalties outlined in MOMS include:
- Lowering the threshold for street racing charges to 40 km/h over, on roads where the speed limit is less than 80 km/h
- Continuing to lay street racing charges to 50 km/h over, on roads where the speed limit is 80 km/h or more
- Extending vehicle roadside impoundments from 7 days to 14 days
- Increasing roadside license suspensions from 7 days to 30 days
- Introducing a permanent, lifetime driver’s license ban upon a 4th stunt driving conviction
If passed into law, it will provide police with tools to stop motorists from using city streets as personal racetracks.