What happens if your teen is caught stunt driving your vehicle?

Imagine getting a late-night phone call from the police telling you your son or daughter has been nabbed for stunt driving or excessive speeding, and your vehicle has been confiscated.

Last year, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) reported 420 charges, out of which 105 were for speeding and 20 charges for stunt driving. Young drivers aren’t the only age demographic responsible for the surge in stunt driving, if you’re convicted of this type of offence, you will have a lot more to worry about than an increase in your car insurance premium.

What is stunt driving?

Driving more than 50 kilometres per hour over the posted limit is most commonly known as stunt driving. But according to section 172 (1) of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, stunt driving can involve more than driving at an excessive speed.

Driving too close to another vehicle, not allowing another driver to pass in front of the lane you’re in, or cutting off other drivers can earn you a charge for stunt driving. So too can doing doughnuts in a vehicle, popping a wheelie, or allowing someone to ride in the trunk of your car while driving.

Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act, section 115 (e) states that the driver of a vehicle is driving carelessly if that driver “performs or engages in any stunt or other activity that is likely to distract, startle, or interfere with users of the highway.” In other words, even reckless actions like distracting other drivers may be enough to count as stunt driving.

What are the penalties for stunt driving?

In Ontario, here’s what can happen if an officer charges you with stunt driving:

  • Your driver’s licence is automatically suspended for 30 days.
  • You will have to complete a mandatory driver improvement course, or risk losing your licence.
  • You will face a fine of anywhere between $2,000 to $10,000.
  • Six demerit points will be added to your licence.
  • The vehicle you were driving will be towed away and impounded for 14 days regardless of who owns it. You (or the car’s owner) are responsible for paying for the towing and impoundment fees.
  • Your driver’s licence may be suspended for up to three years (for the first offence) and up to a decade for any subsequent convictions.
  • You may face imprisonment for up to six months.

If an officer charges you with stunt driving in Alberta, you will be required to appear in court and face a fine of up to $2,000. Additionally, three to six demerit points are added to your licence and on a first offence, your licence may be suspended for 90 days.

How does stunt driving affect your car insurance?

If you or someone on your auto insurance policy is convicted of stunt driving, its ramifications, particularly on your premium, are not pretty.

A stunt driving conviction will remain on your driving record for three years. Insurance companies may not be willing to insure you, or if one does, the premium will not be cheap. In the event that you’re ever charged for stunt driving, it’s even more crucial that you compare auto insurance rates to make sure you have access to the most affordable rate you can get.

Whether or not the young adult in your home will speed behind the wheel, take the time to warn them about the dangers of driving too fast, and the repercussions of being charged with stunt driving. It’s also worthwhile to remind them of the dangers of falling into the habit of being a distracted driver.

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