The Highway Traffic Act was recently amended and you may now be facing significant penalties that can have a tremendous impact on your daily life.
The Ontario government recently passed the Moving Ontarians More Safely (MOMS) Act into law. It amends the Highway Traffic Act and has altered its previous “stunt driving” provisions to make the penalties more severe.
Previously, someone driving 50km/hour above the speed limit was potentially liable to meet the threshold for “stunt driving.” MOMS has dropped this threshold. You now only have to be driving 40km/hour above the posted speed limit if you are driving on a road with a speed limit of less than 80km/hour. The ramifications are huge and it is easy to foresee the potential impact on many people.
Before MOMS, your licence would be automatically suspended for 7 days if an officer pulled you over and issued you a “stunt driving” ticket. After MOMS, this has now been increased to 30 days, meaning you will have to organize a ride for yourself not only from the place you were pulled over, but for an entire month. This can have significant implications for someone’s work and family life commitments.
Additionally, if you are caught driving during this 30-day suspension then you may be charged with another offence: driving with a suspended licence. This could result in a further 6-month licence suspension, heavy fines and potential imprisonment.
If your vehicle was pulled over by police and you were issued a stunt driving ticket before MOMS was passed into law, your vehicle would be automatically and immediately impounded for 1 week. After MOMS, this impound period has been increased to 2 weeks. This means that you will have to have to arrange for someone to come pick up your car from where it was impounded because your licence will still be suspended for another 2 weeks. Additionally, you will have to now pay 14-day tow yard fees, compared to 7 days. This may cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Penalties if convicted
If you are convicted of a “stunt driving” or racing offence, you will now be facing greater penalties as a result of MOMS. You will face a mandatory minimum fine of $2000, but this can reach as high as $10,000. You may also face imprisonment instead of receiving a heavy fine, or you may receive both.
Previously, the licence suspension ranged from 0 to 2 years, so it was possible for someone to receive a minimum fine and no licence suspension if convicted. However, after MOMS there is a mandatory minimum licence suspension of 1 year for a first offence, and this can be as high as 3 years. For subsequent convictions, this licence suspension can reach as many as 10 years. Obviously, convictions carrying penalties this severe can have significant implications for both your finances and daily routine.
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The ramifications of these changes in the law are enormous. The penalties for being convicted under Ontario’s new stunt and racing laws are bad enough. But the implications on your daily life for just receiving a ticket are severe as well.