Better watch your speedometer, Ontario riders. The province’s latest anti-stunting update lowers the bar for that offense, meaning police can and will charge you for going 40 km/h over, in certain zones.
Under Ontario’s new MOMS Act (Moving Ontarians More Safely), motorists traveling 40 km/h or more over the speed limit in a zone with speed limit under 80 km/h will face stunting charges. The MOMS Act passed April 26, and is in effect as of July 1.
This means that riders going 110 km/h in a 70 zone will deal with stunting charges.
The penalties for stunting have also changed. Now, the driver/rider automatically faces a 30-day licence suspension, handed out roadside. Their vehicle will be impounded for 14 days.
Upon conviction on the charges, the driver/rider faces a licence suspension of 1-3 years. A second conviction is a licence suspension of 3-10 years. A third offence may result in a lifetime suspension, which can be reduced later. A fourth offence and subsequent offences results in a lifetime suspension.
One wonders about the efficacy of this plan; if the first lifetime suspension didn’t work, how will double-banning a driver/rider from the roads be more helpful? Although, the courts can also hand out jail time with a stunting conviction, with up to six months’ stay in the clink for a first-time conviction. That will likely cut down on repeat offences …
Along with the drivers licence suspensions, the updated rules also say convicted drivers/riders will face a fine of $2,000 to $10,000 for their first offence. Presumably, the costs rise from there.
You can see the MOMS Act here.
Tough rules get tougher
Ontario already had some of the toughest speeding laws in Canada, with stunting charges automatically applied for speeding 50 km/h over the limit. While that is indeed a healthy margin, it’s also possible that a rider could be going 50 km/h over, and still be entirely safe.
You could get a stunting charge for doing other things besides speeding too. As per the Ministry of Transportation’s handbook, “Other dangerous behaviours are also now defined as stunts: driving in such a way that prevents another vehicle from passing, intentionally cutting off another vehicle, or intentionally driving too close to another vehicle, pedestrian or fixed object.“
Chances are most motorcycle riders aren’t doing a whole lot of “intentionally cutting off another vehicle,” but the more you dig into the rules, the more you realize the law is exceedingly broad, and a determined traffic cop could throw a stunting charge at just about anyone, if they really want to.
If this program is used as intended…to get the worst behaviour off the roads, then it can work. Things like closing down highways for stunt shows, donuts on city streets, reckless driving on congested streets/highways should be penalized harshly and are no brainers.
But if speed traps on country roads are set up where an 80 limit transitions to 60… then that’s another story. Let’s hope rational heads in the OPP prevail.