Tough New Law Proposed Against Street Racing And Stunt Driving; Will Also Regulate Tow Industry

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Street racing... Representative Image by Christine Sponchia from Pixabay

TORONTO: A tough new law – the Moving Ontarians More Safely Act, 2021, also known as the MOMS Act – has been introduced by the Ontario government in the legislation.

The bill was first moved by MPP Nina Tangri. The proposed legislation will introduce new measures to combat high-risk driving and improve road safety, including longer driver’s licence suspensions and longer vehicle impoundment periods for drivers who engage in stunt driving, street racing and aggressive driving.

“Both as Minister of Transportation and a parent to drivingaged teens, I am extremely concerned by the rising numbers of young drivers in Ontario caught stunt driving, street racing and driving aggressively,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation.

“By increasing driver’s licence suspensions and vehicle impoundment periods, the MOMS Act sends a clear message to drivers – driving is a privilege and those who threaten the safety of others have no place on our roads.”

If passed by the legislature, the MOMS Act would also introduce measures to protect vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and highway workers, improve truck safety and strengthen the province’s oversight of the towing sector by creating the Towing and Storage Safety and Enforcement Act, 2021.

This Act would require tow operators, tow truck drivers and vehicle storage operators to be certified, and set new standards for customer protection and roadside behaviours, including penalties for non-compliance.

“The MOMS Act targets the worst actors on our roads by creating escalating suspensions for repeat offenders and setting a lower speed threshold for stunt driving charges on municipal roads,” said Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA).

“With this Act, we are taking concrete action to protect people and families on our roads.”

“Stunt driving and street racing are serious threats that have posed a greater risk to our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “The increased penalties and sanctions proposed under the MOMS Act, along with the creation of the new Towing and Storage Safety and Enforcement Act, will ensure police services across the province have the tools they need to combat highrisk driving on Ontario’s roads.”

• The number of driver’s licence suspensions issued at roadside for street racing/stunt driving increased 130 per cent between 2013 and 2019.

• Roadside driver’s licence suspensions for street racing/stunt driving increased an additional 52 per cent between March and August 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Nearly five per cent of drivers suspended during this period had one or more previous suspensions in the previous five years.

• Young drivers 16-25 represented only 19 per cent of drivers involved in collisions between March and June 2020 but 42 percent of drivers involved in collisions with a police-recorded speed of 50 km per hour (km/h) or more above the posted limit. Superintendent Scott Baptist Unit Commander – Traffic Services, Toronto Police Service, said: “By creating a series of escalating sanctions for aggressive driving behaviours, the law will focus the most significant repercussions on those who completely disregard the law, putting the
lives and safety of other road users in jeopardy. It will also create a much-needed regulatory framework for the towing industry.”

Scott Butler, Executive Director, Ontario Good Roads Association, said: “We applaud the steps the Ontario government has taken to address road safety concerns and issues with the Moving Ontarians More Safely Act. This is an important first step toward realizing a future where Ontarians are no longer fatally injured or seriously hurt on our roadways.”

Commissioner Thomas Carrique, Ontario Provincial Police, added: “Engaging in stunt driving, racing and speeding is more than just breaking the law. It endangers lives and results in fatalities and injuries. The MOMS Act is an important step towards addressing road safety issues created by aggressive drivers and unsafe towing practices.”

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