Ontario Provincial Police officers charged two drivers on Sunday after their cars were seen traveling more than 50 km/h over the speed limit along a busy roadway in the Thousand Islands near Gananoque.
Two men from Quebec, aged 20 and 44, were charged with stunt driving on Highway 401. Their cars were towed and impounded for seven days.
After police pulled them over, the two men, upset because their cars were being towed, called 911 from the side of the highway while still in the presence of the OPP officers who stopped them.
Police are using the incident to remind drivers that under provincial legislation, officers in Ontario have the authority to immediately impound a vehicle for a week when it is involved in a speeding offence of 50 km/h or more over the posted speed limit.
Sudbury’s city police recently told CBC News the majority of people don’t even realize they’re massively exceeding the speed limit — or what is in store once they’ve been caught.
John Coluzzi, a Sudbury police traffic unit constable, listed five things people may not know about stunt driving in Ontario.
1. If you get charged with stunt driving, your licence is automatically taken away.
Coluzzi said people are always surprised when police pull them over and take away their licence on the spot. Your driver’s licence is suspended for 7 days, and you’ll have to go to the Ministry of Transportation and pay a $180 fee to get it back.
2. Your car gets impounded for seven days — even if it’s your mom’s car.
Coluzzi said police impound the car no matter who it belongs to. In the past, that’s included rental cars, company cars, and your parent’s car. Whoever the car belongs to will be on the hook to pay the fee for towing, along with the fees for keeping the car at the impound lot for seven days.
“If it’s mom’s vehicle, and the son was driving it, the mom might say, ‘son you’re paying for that tow,'” Coluzzi said. “But if the mom wants her car back, she’s going to obviously [have to] pay it.”
3. Stunt driving involves more than just speeding — it also deals with actual stunts and road rage.
Driving on a bet, popping wheelies, and doing donuts (spinning in a circle without maintaining control) all count as stunt driving.
If you’ve got road rage, you’ll want to watch out too. Coluzzi said if you’re purposefully not letting someone pass, driving to close, or trying to make someone rear-end you, that’s stunt driving. If you turn left at an intersection and cut the traffic off going the opposite direction, that will count too.
4. Putting your friend in the trunk of your car counts as stunt driving too.
Short on seats? You might want to think twice before you get your extra friend to take a ride in your trunk. Coluzzi said he’s never personally seen it, but it has happened.
Another more unique charge: “Fail to occupy the driver’s seat of the vehicle.” Coluzzi said he isn’t too sure how this logistically could happen, but it would involve driving the motor vehicle while the driver isn’t sitting in the driver’s the seat. “Somebody else is controlling the wheel, and you’re not in control of the gas or breaking,” he said. “It would be an odd situation.”
5. The fine for stunt driving is double the fine for drunk driving.
If convicted, the minimum first-time fine for stunt driving is $2,000. That fine can go all the way up to $10,000. You could also end up with six months in jail and a 2 year licence suspension. In comparison, the first-time fine for drunk driving comes with a $1,000 charge.