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Ontario's new 'Street Racing' laws

  • Thread starter cameron_highlander
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My new car of 3 weeks was taken away from me in the middle of nowhere Ontario (near Peterborough) under the new law we have in Ontario that is supposed to target street racers (people racing down city streets). Basically, I was attempting to pass a long line of cars on Hwy 7 in one of the passing lanes. If anyone has driven on Hwy 7 in -Ontario, you know that the speed limit varies between 60-80km/hr but the pace of traffic is usually 100km/hr on the long stretches, so you need to 'gun it' as it were to pass. So, I got caught...and justifiably so, I was speeding.

However, among the other things that have gone through my mind this week (don't get my car until Monday) is how utterly unfair this law is. Why you ask? I'll list my problems (keeping in mind that yeah, I'm a dumbarse for speeding and getting caught, I know that).

-They aren't catching the real street racers, who aren't usually dumb enough to race in broad daylight. They are catching 'normal' speeders, who before were just slapped with a heavy fine and sent on their merry way (or in the case of my buddy, let off with a warning because he was a CF member). Now with this new law, you loose your car (vital for some, including me) and have to go to court...no choice and the police are obliged to do this, they have no discretion in the matter.

-I was told "the tow truck driver will take you into town, your on your own there". WTF? I'm sorry, but if your taking away my car in the middle of nowhere for something like this, I would assume that you could help me a little more with finding a way home (cost me 158$ for a cab to my girlfriend's place). Also, I still don't know how to get my license back, the officer took it and drove off.

-I'm paying 635$ in impound fees, possibly 150$ to get my license back and of course my costs to get home. That's over 900$ before I've even been found guilty. Wow. Thought it was innocent until proven guilty. Apparently not.

-Drunk drivers, bad drivers, murderers and drug dealers are running rampant and killing people....hundreds a YEAR. Street racing kills 36 in 6 years (right from the OPP website) and it becomes this big of an issue. I have a problem with our laws being made and enforced at the leisure of the media (I'm looking at you Mr. Fantino..you media spotlight lover you). 

My view, this is a way for the OPP and the Government of Ontario to appear to be doing something when they aren't, and making a killing in fines while doing so. Meanwhile, I have to dodge people doing their makeup and smoking pot on their way down the 401 and any other Hwy, but I get dinged and turned into an 'evil street racer' for trying to pass. I know, I was driving 50km/hr over the limit (I think, the officer never told me how fast I was going) and that was dumb..very, very STUPID. But, why can I not be sent on my way with a heafty fine or severe warning (officer's discretion) instead of having to fight for my driving life because I'm being branded as something I'm not. It's like arresting a kid with 2g's of pot and treating him like you just caught a Colombian cartel boss (like they did a few years ago).

Maybe I'm being whiner and 'just another kid'. But this whole situation has really made me aware of how screwy the justice system is when it works to the will of media hype. I'm a young male with a new (and darned nice I might add) car. I am therefore by definition to the media, AG and the OPP a rich, careless playboy...without even knowing me. I saved up for that car for years, was finally able to buy it and now am looking at maybe not being able to drive it because of one (big I know) mistake (no prior traffic or criminal convictions in my life). Let's hope the judge is reasonable and my lawyer is good (Pointts is who I'm talking to now).

I f**ked the dog on this one, big time. But why do I have to go through this whole process for a law that's not supposed to apply to me? This '50km/hr over is authomatically street racing' idea is bullocks, if the OPP (who patrol the highways) pulled over everyone going that fast the 401 would have ALOT fewers cars on it, thats for sure. But no, I'm young and male so the officer wouln't even consider dropping it to 49km/hr over on the spot.

Wow; that feels better. I had to vent to someone. Now, does anyone hav any advice for me? I know a few police officers who are looking into this for me but no one knows whats going on, the OPP are just taking cars left right and centre because the law was rushed in and the OPP has to look like is doing something. Im also getting a lawyer to sort this out for me, but hey, I know a few officers are on this board s I was hoping I could get some advice. I have no priors, I go to school and NEED my car to get there, get to my late night job, training and martial arts training and of course I am a CF member.

Anyone? I'm confused, worried and rather scared at the whole situation. I doubt I'll loose my license, but if I become un-insurable....

EDIT: Just so we're clear, I've got nothing against the OPP or any other police service. I hope to one day join your ranks after my CF service (maybe) and thats another reason I am concerned...street racing charge+ police application = BAD. I just have a problem with the idiots writing the laws. 
You say you got no ticket, and no explanation of how fast you were going?  That sounds odd.

Do you have a location (town) where this happened along Hwy 7?
I have not read the law in detail, but my immediate reaction when the law was passed was that it would probably be struck down by a judge if someone had the $$ to appeal it high enough.

As you said speeding does not make you a street racer!

Good luck, as someone who has got dinged for 50+ over I'm rooting for you... (on a deserted 80 kph limit highway betwen Sudbury and Timmins  ::) )
There have been a few issues of fraud, and even police officers planting pot in young peoples cars when they pull them over.  So, it may (may) be possible that this could be one of those things?
The no ticket is suspicious (from my experience), you were not told how to get your license back, and your car was impounded.  Two of things I find very odd.  and those two things, could make the third slightly questionable.
It's like the 7 proofs of continental drift.  individually they prove nothing.  But with 3 or more together, they make a very hard case.
I'm not saying it happened, or that it is too much of a possibility.  I'm just saying that in Barrie we have had issues with a few officers, and I have heard of fraud cases in the past (They can be really good).
I have a question.  Where there any others who had their cars impounded and charged along with you?  In order to be racing, I would normally think of it as being more than one person in the race.  If you weren't racing with another person, then all you were doing was Speeding, and perhaps 'aggressive driving'. 

Should be interesting to see how this pans out.  I hope you update us after you have had your day in court.  I hope you get a good lawyer to argue your case.
Was this 'immediate impound' because of the difference in the posted speed to your actual speed? E.g. 40kph over the posted speed?

Hate to piss on your parade mate, but speeding is simply that, and really there is no excuse for it. Honestly now, no matter how we are inconvienced by slow drivers, there is not much we can do, but ride it out (literally).

I do feel your pain however, and I am not stirring the pot.

In Queensland, 20kph over, and you loose your license.

I travel 140km/day, and always never push it over 110 in a 100 zone. So far no ticket, and 32 yrs behind the wheel, nowadays, I would never exceed the limit of 40-50kph over. Good common sense, and I want to keep driving, plus I like my $$ in my bank, not in the hands of the police.

50kph over might not make you a racer, but it is outright deadly dangerous, with literally risking your life and others, regardless of your age and experience. I reckon the law will stick, and you'll end up convicted and black listed for years to come. Traffic judges who see all too often the horrors, death, pain and trauma accidents involving excessive speeding cause, will in my opinion show no mercy. If I was a judge, shy of a life threatening family emergency, I would convict wholeheartedly. In hindsight, I would expect the same from most decesnt drivers.

Like I said, hate to piss on your parade.

Chin up,

As I was told by a former colleague who joined the OPP,  when the speed has no set fine and instead requires a court date,  a ticket can not be issued because no actual fine can be placed on it.  Instead, you get the court summons, and the officer provides his evidence to the crown for prosecution.  The CA and your lawyer (or you), get to debate it out in a live court, and see what the judge decides for you. This apparently was the case even before this new law;  you didn't automatically lose your car/license all in one go previously, but past a certain speed (I believe it was 49+ over), you still had to go to court to get the fine - no ticket, just a court summons.

IMHO, you may have a rough time convincing a judge that your speed was warranted if the flow of traffic was already 20-40 kph over the speed limit, and you still felt the need to pass this already speeding "flow of traffic".  What you probably have a crack at is appealing the immediate seizure of your vehicle and license as guilty until proven innocent, which is arguably anti-constitutional.

So under the law exceeding the speed limit by 50kph is considered "stunt driving", not "street racing"...

172.  (1)  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. 2007, c. 13, s. 21
This is not personal and yes your story stings... Don't blame Julian. it's Dalton's law and we will be getting 4 more years of him..  :p

But this is what your up against.....

Ontario Highway Traffic Act  notes: "the privilege of driving on a highway is granted to, and retained by, only those persons who demonstrate that they are likely to drive safely".  Therefore, those who abuse the privilege or otherwise compromise the safety of the general public must be held accountable to the full extent provided in law.
Disregard of this simple section is why the gov't has step in to ensure compliance with the laws of highway.  Deaths, Collisions, and road safety stats indicate that many are not getting the message. as pointed out by you; 

If anyone has driven on Hwy 7 in -Ontario, you know that the speed limit varies between 60-80km/hr but the pace of traffic is usually 100km/hr on the long stretches, so you need to 'gun it' as it were to pass. So, I got caught...and justifiably so, I was speeding.

I know, I was driving 50km/hr over the limit
sorry, not much sympathy for you. Your a danger to others at that speed.  Physics out explains any excuse here, I'm afraid..

I was attempting to pass a long line of cars on Hwy 7 in one of the passing lanes.
This added with your speed puts you further into the danger category..  still in the wrong.
Why was it necessary to pass vehs already going 20ish over the limit??. 

Drunk drivers, bad drivers, murderers and drug dealers are running rampant and killing people
On that day, you fell into that bad driver category and your action attributes to the Fatality and Personal injury rate on the Highways.

Thats what the system sees of you.. I'm afraid..  Like it or not.. You've broken a law.

Good news though... You'll have your day in court and you've lawyered up so I would follow that advice and not answer shop here...

As for your career aspirations? I would swallow this pill and learn from it quickly..
Piper, I hate to say it, but unless you are using your car FOR work (and are insured for such), and not just to GET to work, than the courts won't see you as needing a car, no matter how far you have to go to get to school.
Piper, I went through this a few years ago (under the old law so no roadside suspension) so here's some advice:

Go to points/x-copper!!, see if they can get the crown to reduce the charges before it goes before the judge, being a first offence you stand a chance. Not sure if they can do that with the new regs seeing how they already suspended you, but give it a try... Once it gets in front of the judge I don't think that he can reduce the charge, only the fine for it. In my case he cut the fine from $600 to $300 because I was a student, but what I didn't know was that the fine paled in comparison to what I would pay in increased insurance premiums for the next few years (you are classed as a "high risk" driver for over 50 kph = $4k/yr rates for several years!!!). Try everything you can to have the crown reduce the charge to less than 49kph before your court date!

I also had an interview with the MTO where they asked why I should get to keep my licence, how I was going to drive more responsibly, and what would happen if I was caught speeding again...

Hope that helps!

Here's some UFI for you:

130km/h is around 36 metres/second.  Given the typical length of a blink is 0.3 seconds, every time you blinked, you would have travelled just under 11 metres.  If the average blinks once every five seconds, you'd have spent about 3.6 seconds of every minute with your eyes closed (or close to 130 metres every minute).

A car travelling 100 km/h is going around 28 metres/second.  That driver will go around 8 metres per blink.

80 km/h, 22 metres/second.  7 metres/blink.
Piper said:
I wouldn't say I'm trying to get off...I'm guilty, pure and simple.

What I'm hoping is a reduction in the charge seeing as I'm a a) student, b) first offence, c) upstanding citizen (not to sound arrogant, but I am), d) need my car and e) really, really, REALLY embarassed and overall very upset and remorseful over the whole thing. It's embarassing and stressful and I'm sure as hell not doing this again.

It's a new law, and I'll be one of the first to go through so hopefully I'll set a precendet for how to deal with first time offenders. My only bright point is that people who actually race aren't even getting the max penalty unless they kill someone, and thats a whole new kettle of fish.

Also states the fine is a mininum of $2000.  So Merry Christmas!

Mate, again being honest, at 50kph over, you very easily could have killed someone, or yourself. All it takes is a split second, like a car turning on to the road in front of you. After all he thinks you are going 50kph slower.

You're  20, and an adult. I don't need to lecture you, but I am sure you get my drift.

An expensive lesson, which will cost you right now about $2900 so far.


After having a friend get in an accident over the weekend which could have killed her had the stars been alligned differently, I have absolutely no sympathy for you.

She moved to the outside lane to avoid the person in front of her when they braked suddenly.  She checked the lane quickly and it was clear, and had just settled and was braking when someone going well over the limit rear-ended her.

You might think you can control your speed, but you can't read minds and you could have easily caused an accident in the same way...except you probably would have pushed the car to oncoming traffic.
Piper said:
EDIT: Just so we're clear, I've got nothing against the OPP or any other police service. I hope to one day join your ranks after my CF service (maybe) and thats another reason I am concerned...street racing charge+ police application = BAD.

I may be mistaken, but I think you'll find the Highway Traffic Act comes under the Provincial Offences Act, meaning it's not a criminal conviction against you.  Shows up on a driver's abstract, though.

I just have a problem with the idiots writing the laws.

I'm not sure I agree with your assessment of legislators being "idiots".  Nobody, but nobody has any business travelling at 50 km/h over the speed limit.  As far as I'm concerned, Nova Scotia could use some legislation with teeth such as this.

284_226 said:
So long as they don't take out innocent bystanders, I consider it chlorinating the gene pool.

Unfortunately, helmet laws mean they may survive and require round the clock care... far better to waive that rule and get some organ donations out of it too.
If they run from the law, they're not just stupid, they're now criminals instead of summary offence violators.  The punishments meted out for evasion should be hardened correspondingly to make the run/no run decision a simple one - pull over, or you're going to spend a long time in cells for thinking you're young and bulletproof.

I have to disagree with the assessment that racing/stunt driving isn't much of a threat.  Speeding 20-30 km/h isn't much of a threat, and the fines reflect that.  Excessive speeding is a threat - even if only to the driver themselves - and I'm tired of paying out high insurance premiums because of youthful stupidity.  I have little sympathy for those who are getting their cars seized for a week.  I'd be content to watch them get crushed.  That would have an enormous impact on the youth that are borrowing mom and pop's car for their joyriding.
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