Over the last several weeks, traffic levels in Ontario have dropped significantly. And though the roads may be open, people have fewer places to go, including young people who have had classes, sports and extracurricular activities cancelled.
Unfortunately, some teens see this situation as an opportunity to engage in some reckless and illegal activity on Ontario roadways. If you have teen drivers in your family, you should know what can happen when a young person – or any driver – drives dangerously.
What is dangerous driving?
The Highway Traffic Act prohibits numerous types of dangerous driving, many of which have increased in recent weeks. Prohibited acts include:
- Excessive speeding
- Stunt driving
- Highway racing
- Inattentive driving
- Driving without reasonable consideration of others on the road
Every driver should know these behaviours are illegal and unsafe. However, many young motorists engage in them anyway. Many teenagers have yet to attain cognitive maturity, which means they don’t always make the best decisions. Further, they may be pressured to take risks by their peers.
Some young people also do not understand what is truly at stake when they drive dangerously. As parents, you can help them by explaining the possible consequences.
Penalties for careless driving in Ontario
A person charged with careless driving – even a first offense – could be facing:
- License suspension for up to two years
- Fines of up to $2,000
- Imprisonment for up to six months
- Impound of vehicle
Aggravating factors, including whether the incident involved injuries, will generally increase these penalties.
These consequences can dramatically affect a person’s life. He or she can be without a car and without a licence, making it very difficult to get around. The financial toll can be devastating, especially for a young person who is not employed full-time. And imprisonment can derail academic and professional plans.
Further, dangerous driving threatens people’s lives and safety.
With all this in mind, parents should talk to young drivers about the risks of dangerous and careless driving. If a teen is already facing charges, parents can be understandably mad. However, defending your child will be critical, considering the long-term impact of a conviction.