Is Ontario’s Street Racing Legislation a Real Deterrent?

Every day, regular people, considered law abiding citizens in all other respects, get into their cars and drive speeds in excess of the posted speed limit.  The problem is that studies have shown that as the speed of a motor vehicle increases, so does the risk of crash-related injuries and fatalities.

In September 2007, the Ontario Government implemented Bill 203 which targeted street racing, extreme speeding and stunt driving.  This new legislation increased penalties for and expanded the definition of street racing (speeding 50 km/hour or more over the posted speed limit) and introduced new provisions for stunt driving.

The effect of this legislation is open for debate.  Reports indicate that in the first year of the legislation nearly 8,500 Ontario drivers were charged.  This number has continued to grow but records indicate that the growth rate has decreased gradually since enacting the new legislation.

Advocates of street racing laws argue that the downward trend of roadside suspensions and convictions for extreme speeding provides evidence that the new legislation is having a deterring effect.  Unfortunately, many of the people caught stunt driving are young thrill seekers who are less concerned about excessive speeding and less likely to be deterred from maintaining their risky driving behaviours and attitudes.  These thrill seekers also have the benefit of real-time traffic apps that make it easier for them and other extreme speeders to evade police detection.

While Bill 203 appears to have had a positive effect, the one thing that remains certain is that speeding remains the second most common contributor to motor vehicle fatalities.  If you or someone you care about has been injured by a speeding driver a personal injury lawyer can help.

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