- Licence suspensions issued in Ontario at roadside for street racing and stunt driving increased 130% between 2013 and 2019.
- Young drivers aged 16-25 represented 19% of drivers involved in collisions between March and June 2020 and 42% of drivers involved in collisions while driving 50 km/h or more above the posted limit.
- The proposed law will increase roadside vehicle impoundments and escalate licence suspensions for drivers convicted of street racing or stunt driving.
The Ontario government aims to increase the consequences for drivers convicted of excessive speeding, stunt driving, aggressive driving and other risky driving behaviours that have ratcheted up since the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
On April 26, the government introduced the “Moving Ontarians More Safely Act, 2021”, also known as the MOMS Act. The proposed legislation aims to combat high-risk driving and improve road safety, including longer driver’s licence suspensions and vehicle impoundment periods for drivers who engage in excessive speeding, stunt driving, street racing, and aggressive driving.
Excessive speeding, stunt driving on the climb
The number of driver’s licence suspensions issued in Ontario at roadside for street racing and stunt driving increased 130% between 2013 and 2019, the government says. Roadside driver’s licence suspensions for street racing and stunt driving increased an additional 52% between March and August 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Nearly 5% of drivers suspended during this period had one or more previous suspensions in the last five years.
Young drivers aged 16-25 represented 19% of drivers involved in collisions between March and June 2020 and 42% of drivers involved in collisions with a police-recorded speed of 50 km/h or more above the posted limit.
“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, in a press release. “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.”
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Lead-foot drivers beware: stricter penalties await
If the MOMS Act passes and becomes law, roadside vehicle impoundments will increase from seven to 14 days and roadside driver’s licence suspensions from seven to 30 days. Furthermore, the Act includes escalating licence suspensions for drivers convicted of street racing or stunt driving:
- For a first offence, a minimum suspension of one to three years.
- For a second offence, a minimum suspension of three to 10 years.
- For a third offence, a lifetime suspension that may be reduced at a later date to be established by regulation.
- For fourth and subsequent offences, a lifetime driver’s licence suspension.
Additionally, the proposed law also lowers the threshold for the police to lay street racing charges against drivers travelling 40 km/h or more above the posted limit on roads where the speed limit is less than 80 km/h.
The MOMS Act would also introduce measures to protect pedestrians, highway workers, and improve truck safety. It would also strengthen the province’s oversight of the towing sector by creating the “Towing and Storage Safety and Enforcement Act, 2021”, requiring tow truck drivers and vehicle storage operators to be certified and set new standards for customer protection and roadside behaviours. The proposed towing oversight changes follow the government’s rollout in March of a two-year pilot of restricted towing zones in the Greater Toronto Area.