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First One To The Finish Line Pays

According to the Motor Vehicle Act, “race” means:

“circumstances in which…the driver of a motor vehicle is driving or operating the motor vehicle without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway or in a manner that may cause harm to an individual by doing any of the following:

  1. outdistancing or attempting to outdistance one or more other motor vehicles;
  2. preventing or attempting to prevent one or more other motor vehicles from passing;
  3. driving at excessive speed in order to arrive at or attempt to arrive at a given destination ahead of one or more other motor vehicles.”

Car Racing

Need For Speed

Street racing is a surprisingly common occurrence, with an average of over 1,000 cases in BC alone per year.  To call street racing dangerous is a huge understatement.  During a street race, vehicles are often traveling over double the speed limit.  Participants are putting both themselves and other road users at serious risk.

In our Road Rules article 838 – BC’s Top Accident Site, we discussed common causes of accidents on bridges.  Most often, these accidents are due to distracted driving or merging difficulties.  However, a few years ago, a twenty-two year old was charged under the Motor Vehicle Act after being stopped for speeding on the Lions Gate Bridge.

This individual was driving his Ferrari 210 km/h in a 60km/h zone on the bridge.  He was not racing another car, he simply wanted to drive fast.  Perhaps he was racing his own ego.  Regardless, at that speed he risked causing a serious injury or death to anyone he could have encountered on the bridge.  His car was impounded for 60 days and he was banned from driving for 16 months.

Penalties for Racing

There are a myriad of charges that can be laid for street racing.  These can include: Speeding, Dangerous Driving, Driving without due care and attention, Traffic control violations, and Excessive noise.

Dangerous Driving is actually a criminal offence and can result in heavy fines or jail time.  Additionally, as in the case mentioned above, any vehicle that is used in a street race will immediately be impounded for a minimum of 7 days at the owner’s expense.

All of that being said, the follow-through with penalties tend to be less severe than they sound.  The average conviction rate for street racing cases that make it to trial is only around 30%.  For the most part, the charges are reduced, withdrawn or dismissed.