Stunt Driving

Section 172(1) of the HTA states: “No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway in a race or contest, while performing a stunt or on a bet or wager.”  The particulars of what constitutes racing and stunt driving are set out in Ontario Regulation 455/07, as follows:

Race and contest, under s. 2(1), include:

  • One or more persons engaged in a competition, above the lawful rate of speed;
  • Chasing another vehicle;
  • Driving without due care or attention at a high rate of speed; or
  • Repeatedly changing lanes close to other vehicles in an effort to advance past other vehicles at a higher rate of speed.

While most people tend to thing of stunt driving as related to speeding or racing, it actually encompasses a wide range of different driving actions, such as:

  • Purposely spinning the vehicles tires;
  • Lifting one or more of the vehicles tires off the road surface;
  • Causing the vehicle to spin in a circle;
  • Driving beside another vehicle, where one of the vehicles is in the land used by oncoming traffic but is not passing;
  • Driving with a person in the trunk;
  • Driving while not sitting in the driver’s seat;
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/h or more;
  • Driving without due care or attention to prevent another vehicle from passing;
  • Stopping or slowing down to impede the flow of traffic;
  • Driving too close to another vehicle, pedestrian, or fixed object; or
  • Executing a left turn at a green light before the vehicle coming from the opposite direction is able to proceed straight through the intersection.

Because many of the charges under s.172 of the HTA have bee for stunt driving by speeding, some trial-level decisions initially viewed it as an absolute liability offence, like speeding. Considering that a jail term is possible, the Ontario Court of Appeal reclassified stunt driving by speeding, under s.172 of the HTA, as a strict liability offence – which give defendants the opportunity to raise due diligence as a defense to the charge

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