Deaths related to aggressive driving have skyrocketed on Ontario roads this year, according to Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).
The latest OPP report shows an 80 per cent spike in fatalities caused by aggressive driving. So far in 2017, 27 people have been killed, compared to 15 during the same period last year.
Police are particularly concerned about the recent increase as the heat of the summer is just beginning. Summer generally sees the most people on the roads as motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians join large numbers of people traveling in cars enjoying the warmer weather. It is also a time when police see an uptick in dangerous speeding and other aggressive driving behaviours.
OPP is warning motorists to take extra care and follow the rules of the road to prevent accidents this summer.
If you are injured in an accident involving an aggressive driver, our Windsor car accident lawyers can help you fight for the compensation you need.
What is Aggressive Driving?
Aggressive driving includes any driving behaviour performed deliberately with ill intention or disregard for the safety of others on the road. This can include:
- Excessively changing lanes
- Weaving through traffic
- Intentionally preventing another driver from passing
- Cutting off others on the road
- Cutting in front of another driver and then slowing down
- Running red lights
- Using headlights or brakes to punish other drivers
- Failing to yield the right of way
These types of behaviours are reckless and significantly increase the risk of being involved in an accident.
Penalties for Aggressive Driving in Ontario
Aggressive driving can take many forms and can often escalate into dangerous situations involving road rage and violence. Although there is no one Ontario law specific to aggressive driving, there are several that address many aspects of this type of driving behaviour.
According to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, a driver is guilty of careless driving if he or she is driving a vehicle without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for others on the road.
A conviction can result in a fine between $400 and $2,000, license suspension for up to two years and/or imprisonment for up to six months.
Ontario Stunt Driving Law
According to Ontario Regulation 455/07 of the Highway Traffic Act, stunt driving includes driving a motor vehicle:
- At 50 kilometers per hour or more over the speed limit
- Side-by-side with one or more vehicles where one vehicle occupies a lane of traffic or portion of the highway meant for oncoming traffic for longer than it reasonably requires to pass a vehicle
- In a way that indicates an intention to spin or cause the vehicle to circle without maintaining control of it
- In a way that indicates an intention to cause some or all of the tires to lose traction with the highway or lift from the surface
- Without sitting in the driver’s seat
- With a person in the trunk
It also includes driving a motor vehicle without due care, attention or reasonable consideration for others on the highway, including:
- Attempting to prevent another vehicle from passing
- Stopping or slowing down in a way that is intended to affect the movement of another vehicle
- Driving as close as possible to another vehicle, pedestrian or fixed object
- Making a left turn at a red light or immediately before or after a green light is shown in both directions with the intent of making a turn before others in oncoming traffic move through the intersection
If a driver is caught stunt driving, his or her license and vehicle can be immediately seized by police for one week. If convicted, drivers face fines between $2,000 and $10,000, up to six months in jail, and a license suspension for up to two-years for a first-offence or 10 years for a second.
In some circumstances, drivers could face penalties for various forms of aggressive driving under the Ontario Criminal Code.
Drivers could face a charge of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle if the vehicle is operated in a manner that is dangerous to the public. A dangerous driving conviction could lead to up to five years in jail.
If dangerous operation of a vehicle causes bodily harm, a conviction could carry imprisonment for up to 10 years. If a death occurs, imprisonment could be extended up to 14 years.
If aggressive driving escalates to violent road rage, such as banging on a vehicle or worse, charges could range from criminal mischief to assault.
How to Avoid Aggressive Driving Accidents
Aggressive driving can quickly escalate to driver frustration and road rage, as these types of behaviors can be frustrating. To avoid becoming an angry driver, the Official Ministry of Transportation Driver’s Handbook recommends taking the following steps:
- Know your warning signs of stress and take steps to reduce your stress by breathing slowly and deeply, getting fresh air, or listening to relaxing music
- Make a conscious decision not to let your personal problems affect your driving
- Take breaks if you are traveling long distances
- Do not compete with other drivers
- Do not retaliate if you believe another driver has acted in an inconsiderate way
- Leave traffic enforcement to the police
- Do not take other driver’s actions personally
- Drive responsibly and courteously
If you find yourself in a situation involving another driver who is aggressive or angry, there are several steps you should take to help deescalate the situation and avoid a confrontation:
- Keep your cool and focus on driving
- Try to get out of their way
- If you believe you are being followed, do not go home – instead drive to a police station or busy public location
- If your vehicle is stopped or blocked, stay in the vehicle and lock the doors
- Try not to engage with another angry driver
- Contact the police to report the incident once it is safe to do so
Contact Our Auto Accident Lawyers if you are Injured in an Accident
Aggressive driving leads to a significant number of accidents and deaths every year. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in this type of accident, our Windsor car accident lawyers can help.
We have decades of experience handling a variety of accident cases and can help you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
Contact Greg Monforton & Partners today for a free, no obligation consultation to learn more about how we can help you. We will not charge for our services unless we recover compensation for you.
Call (866) 320-4770 to get started now.