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Is stunt driving a crime?

Fast and the Furious is a popular movie franchise that often features stunt driving. Though it may look cool on the screen, if a person were to do that in Canada they would likely find themselves either behind bars, or paying a hefty fine and losing demerit points.

What is stunt driving?

Stunt driving is defined by provincial law. For example, in Ontario stunt driving is defined as “driving a motor vehicle in a highway or race or contest, while performing a stunt or on a bet or wager.”

Prince Edward Island has Racing and Stunt Driving Regulations in their Highway Traffic Act and a “stunt” while driving is described as:

  • While driving a vehicle one or more of its tires is lifted off the surface of the highway or road;
  • Driving in a way that some or all of the car’s tires lose traction while turning, also known as drifting;
  • Causing the vehicle to spin or circle, also known as pulling donuts;
  • Driving a vehicle side by side with one or more vehicles where one of the vehicles is in the lane for oncoming traffic for a period of time longer than is needed to pass, also known as drag racing;
  • Driving a vehicle with someone in the trunk;
  • Driving a vehicle from a position other than the driver's seat;
  • Having a person or object to occupy the front seat in such a way that it prevents the driver from being able to control the vehicle;
  • Having a person ride in the vehicle in a way that interferes with the driver's control of the vehicle; or
  • Allowing a person or object to stick out of the vehicle through a window, moon roof, sun roof or other opening in the vehicle.

What is the law on stunt driving?

Stunt driving is forbidden in Canada. Though there is no individual charge for stunt driving under the Criminal Code of Canada, a person can be charged with dangerous driving.

Dangerous driving is defined as operating “a motor vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances, including the nature, condition and use of the place at which the motor vehicle is being operated and the amount of traffic that at the time is or might reasonably be expected to be at that place.”

Dangerous driving carries high penalties. If a person is convicted of a summary offence for dangerous driving they are liable to a fine and up to six month in prison, or both. However, if they are convicted of an indictable offence then they may face up to five years in prison. If the stunt driving caused injuries or even death, it’s highly likely more charges will be added.

Many provincial highway traffic acts also forbid stunt driving.

For example, not only does the Ontario Highway Traffic Act forbid stunt driving but the person who is charged and is found to have violated that section of the act could face a fine of between $2,000 to up to $10,000, a license suspension for up to two years on a first conviction and up to 10 years for further convictions.

A person can face both federal criminal charges for stunt driving as well as provincial charges.

If you have been charged with stunt driving you should consult a criminal lawyer.

Read more:

Criminal Code of Canada Dangerous Driving