Ontario Regulation 455/07 and the Demerit Point System Jasmine Zhong
The Highway Traffic Act (HTA) of Ontario sets the responsibilities and rules of the road for all drivers and cyclists to protect the safety of the public. It includes regulations such as O. Reg. 455/07 and license laws such as the demerit point system.
Section 172 prohibits racing and stunts such that any one who does so can receive a fine of $2000 to $10 000, up to six months imprisonment and suspension of their driver’s license for up to two years. Ontario Regulation 455/07, also known as the street racing law, was enacted to protect people from stunt driving, racing and contests. It defines “race,” “contest” and “stunt.” “Race” and “contest” include two or more people driving at a speed that is a marked departure from the lawful rate of speed, chasing another vehicle, and driving recklessly at an unlawful speed and outdistancing another vehicle or lane jumping close to other vehicles to get through traffic. “Stunt” driving includes lifting a motor vehicle’s tires off the road, intentionally losing traction, spinning, and driving side by side with one vehicle driving at oncoming traffic. It includes driving a vehicle with a person in the trunk, while the driver is not in the driver’s seat, and at a speed of 50km/h or more over the speed limit. Furthermore, driving without care and attention by intentionally preventing other vehicles from passing; unnecessarily slowing or cutting off others; intentionally driving as close to vehicles, people and objects as possible; and right after a red light, making a left turn on a circular green light before straight-through oncoming traffic, who have the right of way.
The demerit point system is a system that encourages drivers to improve their behaviour and protects people from those who abuse their driving privilege. Points are added when driving-related offenses are committed and they stay on one’s driving record for up to two years. However, not all offenses are worth the same amount of demerit points, as more serious offenses are worth more. For example, you can get seven points for failing to remain at the scene of a collision or for failing to stop for police; six points for careless driving or for failing to stop for a school bus; five points for being a school bus driver failing to stop at an unprotected railway crossing; four points for exceeding the speed limit by 30 to 49 km/h or following too closely; three points for driving while holding a cell phone, failing to yield the right-of-way, or failing to obey a stop sign, traffic light or railway crossing signal; and finally two points for failing to obey signs, failing to signal, unnecessary slow driving, or improper turning. The penalties for having a certain amount of points are as follows for a fully licensed driver: 2-8 points to receive a warning letter, 9-14 points for a potential license suspension and you may have to attend an interview to explain why your license should not be suspended, and 15 or more points for a license suspension of 30 days. For new drivers, the consequences are the same except for the number of points, as it is 2-5, 6-8, and 9+ for a 60 day license suspension respectively.
Ultimately, these rules, regulations, and systems were not put in place to end the fun of driving. Rather, they were put in place to promote the safety of everyone while getting them to their destinations.