Travelling at excessive speed is an ongoing issue on highways in the northeast, despite stiffer penalties.

Twenty-eight per cent of motor-vehicle collisions last year on roads in the region were caused by vehicles going far too fast, according to a release from the OPP.

Stunt driving and racing charges were introduced in 2007 to discourage this highly reckless behaviour.

Stunt driving involves travelling more than 50 km over the speed limit, along with other high-risk actions such as tires losing traction or not all of them being in contact with the highway.

Racing is described as “a race or contest while performing a stunt, or on a bet or wager,” according to the OPP.

Last year, North East OPP charged 212 drivers for stunt driving and racing, and 43 were charged with the same offences in the first quarter of this year.

Most of the offenders — 39 per cent — were between the ages of 21 and 30, and 86 per cent of the people charged were males.

Other dangerous manoeuvres or circumstances that qualify as stunt driving include:

  • Spinning or circling a vehicle without control;
  • Driving with a person in trunk;
  • Driving while not in the driver’s seat;
  • Preventing another vehicle from passing;
  • Driving in the oncoming traffic portion of highway;
  • Stopping or slowing to interfere with another vehicle;
  • Driving too close to another vehicle, pedestrian or object; and
  • Turning left from red light before oncoming traffic.

The penalties for racing and stunt driving “are enormous,” the OPP warned.

A driver’s licence is suspended at the roadside for seven days, and the vehicle is impounded for seven days.

The impound and storage fees from the tow company alone are quite steep. Upon conviction, fines range between $2,000 and $10,000 or up to six months in jail.

For a first-offence conviction, a driver’s licence can be suspended for up to two years, and for subsequent offences, up to 10 years.

“Speeding and aggressive driving remain leading causes of motor-vehicle collisions and fatalities on OPP-patrolled roads,” said Fern Labelle, commander of the North East OPP. “Speeding often leads to other aggressive driving behaviours such as following too closely and unsafe lane changes.”

The North East OPP is “committed to traffic safety and officers are working hard to reduce these high-risk behaviours and save lives on OPP-patrolled roads,” he said.

Source: The Sudbury Star